SANDRA COPIC & CHRISTIE BOSWORTH
June 2, 2014
A recently released City of Perth lighting proposal to illuminate the Perth skyline by night needs further consideration into environmental and social costs say academics from Curtin University.
Part of a wider city lighting strategy, the proposal would illuminate the outline of individual buildings with coloured LED lights, as pictured at the bottom of this article.
City of Perth Deputy Mayor Rob Butler said the main goal of the broader strategy was to light up the “dark and dingy” areas of the city to improve safety.
Cr Butler said the City of Perth had “no idea” how much the strategy was going to cost or where the money would come from.
“How long is a piece of string?” he asked, rhetorically.
Cr Butler said the City of Perth was encouraging building owners to implement lighting plans that would better showcase the skyline at night.
Built Environment senior lecturer at Curtin University, Elizabeth Karol, said the big questions were:
“What will this say to the world about Perth?”; and
“Have we got more energy than we know what to do with and is it being wasted on this?”
Dr Karol questioned what the benefits of the plan were other than a pretty postcard image for tourists.
While LED lights are comparatively low in energy consumption, Dr Karol said this would still have an impact on the environment.
Built Environment PhD student at Curtin University, Haiser Alseaidi, said the planned LED lighting was the most energy efficient and durable option.
LED lighting is however expensive to produce and stock as there are no local manufacturers in Australia, Mr Alseaidi said.
People living in the city being subjected to this level of lighting could experience drastic changes in their sleeping patterns, Dr Karol said.
She said wildlife in and around the CBD could also experience side effects from the lighting.
Dr Karol said the government’s scheme lacked any real long term planning.
“There are enough businesses hurting at the moment,” she said.
“If they have any leftover money they wouldn’t be spending it on this.
“What about spending the money on issues such as people and homelessness?