Stupid and Dangerous

One day in March 2020, there was a guy up a ladder next door. I watched him out the window. To my horror I realized that he was installing MORE lighting, in a most makeshift way, stuck onto the ancient lightpost that was never removed during the renovation.

I went outside and he identified himself as an electrician.

I told him that I already had a considerable negative issue with the amount of light pollution from the gas station, and that what he was doing was sure to cause more.

Words were exchanged back and forth. He called someone on the phone several times. When he left it was near dark, and now there was a hideous, glaring flood light that illuminated 1/3 of my front yard, and a portion of my back yard !

Since the City of London has no bylaws that address light pollution or infiltration this was LEGAL.

I didn’t want my front and back yard lit with someone else’s light ! It was very poorly placed and the fixture was some sort of cheap LED that didn’t have a shade to direct the light whatsoever. It was blinding, excruciating and MOST unwelcome.

I could not appreciate what purpose it served next door. It illuminated an area adjacent to the terrible fence and dumpster, where there was nothing to steal. It did not make the area safer for pedestrians and the blinding glare certainly made it more dangerous for drivers.

I was angry enough that I contacted the parent company the next day. They don’t make this easy, as there is no published address for their head office. I spoke to someone employed to respond to comments about the quality of their gas station experience, in the maritimes somewhere. I explained that as a migraine sufferer, one that is triggered by glare, that this lighting was absolutely unacceptable, as well as unnecessary as the station was already excessively lit.

A few days later I received a BS response from someone down the foodchain, who claimed that the station was within their rights to properly light as they see fit for customer safety.

But what customers were in my front and back yards ?

Did customers like being assaulted by this extreme lighting ? I could barely walk on the street after dark as the glare was excruciating.

Glare is dangerous as it floods the eyes with light, but obscures the details of what is actually in front of the viewer.

I really didn’t like my yard being more illuminated. At this point there was a large amount of scaffolding components stored in my backyard – borrowed. The brighter that my yard was, made it much easier for a creep to see what was in my yard and the most efficient ways in and out.

The more I frowned at the lighting, another issue became clear to me: that lighting was VERY close to the vent pipe openings. While I searched online for information about this, it was clear to me that this was a serious hazard.

There are types of light fixtures designed for areas exposed to large amounts of explosive vapours – specialty fixtures, gasketed, explosion proof. The risk was an electrical spark igniting the gas vapours as they were released from the vents. Since fills were happening twice a week, this risk was considerable !

The distance between the vents and the post is less than 48″:

I contacted the TSSA and the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority). While no one replied to my inquiry, or explained about the specifics of code, one day in June the terrible lighting was removed by the same electrician.

The electrian was completely unfamiliar with TSSA code. The person making the decisions about the lighting placement seemed to be the convenience store staff. The electrician seemed completely unfamilar with the most basic concepts of effective lighting placement or appropriate fixtures.

This is because as this station is a “branded retailer”, the parent company that supplies the gas is absolved of all design decisions. Larger, name brand stations are carefully designed, including lighting placement and even the light fixture itself. Down the corporate ladder anything goes, particularly with an absentee owner who is completely uninvolved in the day to day functions of their investment.

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