12 charges after Leamington enforces light abatement bylaw

CAN (ON): Lights burn a hole in growers' pockets

Leamington bylaw officers have charged 12 greenhouse owners with a total of 88 charges for allegedly violating the town's light abatement rules.

"It is unfortunate that several greenhouse owners continue to be in violation of our bylaw, particularly those greenhouse owners with whom the Municipality settled previous proceedings," said Mayor Hilda MacDonald. "We are hopeful that, in most cases, compliance will be achieved within a reasonable amount of time." 

The "Greenhouse Light Abatement Bylaw" was enacted in 2020 in an effort to curb light pollution by the region's numerous greenhouse operations.

At its meeting held June 14, 2022, Leamington Council passed the current Greenhouse Light Abatement Bylaw, being bylaw 41-22.

The Municipality of Leamington's Greenhouse Light Abatement Bylaw requires owners of greenhouses utilizing lights to have installed and keep closed sidewall and endwall curtains from 5:00 PM to 8:00 AM. 

The municipality says those Greenhouse Owners who had not already installed curtains on the greenhouse ceiling were required to submit evidence that the Owner would be able to install ceiling curtains on or before October 1, 2023. Alternatively, Owners could submit a declaration that the greenhouse lights would be shut off and remain off. The date upon which either of these documents was required to be submitted was October 1, 2022. "Only two Owners submitted evidence related to a planned ceiling curtain installation. No Owners submitted a declaration that lights would be shut off and remain off", they add.

Since November 2022, Leamington Bylaw Enforcement Officers have engaged in a patrol of the municipality for the purpose of gathering evidence of Greenhouse Owners operating in contravention of the bylaw. As a result of this ongoing investigation, Bylaw Enforcement Officers have laid 88 charges under Part III of the Provincial Offences Act upon 12 individual Greenhouse Owners. The charges reflect numerous contraventions across many calendar days. According to the municipality, it is important to note that the matters will not be heard by the courts for a number of months. "In the interim, investigations will continue, and further proceedings are pending."

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