An ambitious plan to replace all of Langley Township’s street lighting with energy efficient LEDs was approved at Langley Township council on Monday.
The Township will now borrow $4.39 million to fund the rapid replacement of more than 7,000 old-style high-pressure sodium streetlights, from Aldergrove to Walnut Grove, with new high-efficiency LED streetlights.
The new lights are expected to be so much cheaper in energy efficiency and maintenance that they will pay for the costs of the loan and its interest.
“I think most households have switched to LED,” said Councillor Bob Long.
Coun. Kim Richter was the only council member present to vote against the plan, saying she was concerned about taking on debt to fund it.
The LED Street Lighting Conversion Project was approved as part of the 2020 budget, but couldn’t be given final approval until after an “alternative approval process” was given a chance to stop it.
The $4.39 million loan is for a period of 20 years, and municipal governments borrowing for that long in B.C. have to give voters a chance to overturn the project by petition.
Earlier this year, the Township advertised that the process was starting, and offered voters a chance to sign forms opposing the borrowing.
A total of 10 per cent of eligible voters have to sign response forms to stop a borrowing project like this one. Based on the number of eligible voters in the Township, that means 8,545 people would have had to fill out the forms to stop the project.
According to Wendy Bauer, the Township clerk, the Township received exactly two completed forms by the deadline of Sept. 28.
The project will now go forward.
The Township’s existing sodium lights annually use 17,000 gigajoules of electricity and consume about $600,000 every year in electricity and maintenance costs.
Replacing them will slash energy use by approximately half and result in less required maintenance.
The Township anticipates saving $380,000 a year.
The annual principal and interest to pay back the 20-year loan is anticipated at $272,352, well below the $380,000 in expected savings on electricity and maintenance.