Leamington greenhouse growers still not complying with light pollution bylaw

Leamington's greenhouse glow from Tilbury. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Since putting a bylaw on the books forcing greenhouses to turn off their grow lights at night, Leamington has had mixed success getting them to follow the rules.

This past January and February, inspectors found 23 greenhouse operators in violation of the bylaw.

After sending out letters to the operators, more than half either cut the lights at night or installed blackout curtains, but 12 are still in violation.

Councillors received a report Tuesday night saying five orders have been issued by the Superior Court of Justice, and another seven are being prepared.

Two of the seven orders still in the works are also for violating the municipality’s Cannabis bylaw. The report does not say what specifically the violation is, but the bylaw addresses odour along with other issues.

Those greenhouse operators who have already been served have an appearance in court next month. It is estimated the others will appear in June.

Related story: Enforcement on light control underway in Kingsville

Leamington and Kingsville enacted bylaws governing light pollution after residents complained their sleep was being disrupted by almost daylight conditions all hours of the night. At the height of the problem, a greenish-yellow glow could be seen as far away as Windsor, Tilbury, and even across Lake Erie in Ohio.

Failure to comply with the bylaw could result in a $750 fine for each occurrence, although in the most egregious cases fines could be up to $100,000 depending on the seriousness of the violation and the size of the operation.

Kingsville’s bylaw was enacted last October, and Leamington’s, in December.