No dimming to report in night light fight

Footy Sevens intensive usage of the new turf field at Immaculata add bright lights, shrill referee whistles and new traffic concerns to the OOE nightscape. Photo by John DanceFooty Sevens intensive usage of the new turf field at Immaculata add bright lights, shrill referee whistles and new traffic concerns to the OOE nightscape. Photo by John Dance

LORNE ABUGOV

The soccer games may have begun, but the rules of operation of the Immaculata High artificial turf field are still stuck in a judicial time-out.  It will likely be 2019 before there is any resolution in the simmering debate over lighting restrictions and evening hours of operation at the new school field.

As The Mainstreeter went to press, there was no firm date set for the hearing of an appeal to be brought by the Ottawa Catholic School Board seeking to overturn an order issued on August 28th by the City of Ottawa’s planning committee that restricted playing time on the new turf field at Immaculata.

After more than two hours of debate that evening, including representations by neighbours and ward councillor candidate Shawn Menard, the city’s planning committee voted 6-2 in favour of shutting down the lights at the field by 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on weekends, instead of the 11 p.m. standard lights-out curfew for other City-owned and operated sports fields.

The matter had gone to planning committee on the basis of complaints about the field’s planned operations, including noise, traffic and lighting, by concerned neighbours who were caught off guard early in 2018 when the Board entered into its private agreement with Footy Sevens to build the new field without any prior consultation with the community.

But even as neighbours were celebrating the planning committee’s 9 p.m. curfew order, the Board announced its intention to appeal the decision to the newly-created Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT).  Pending the completion of the LPAT hearing and ruling, the lighting at Immaculata can remain on until 11 p.m., a matter which has frustrated neighbours and Chernushenko both.

And with no appeal date set down as yet, and with a hearing unlikely before the New Year, it appears that the Footy Sevens group will complete their first outdoor season at Immaculata under the full glare of late-night lighting to the chagrin of neighbours residing in close proximity to the field.

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