CS&B AGENDA
                                           APRIL 24, 1997     

                             ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT

                                           Date: March 12, 1997
                                           C.C. File No. 8012-1

   TO:       Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets

   FROM:     General Manager  of Engineering Services in  consultation with
             the General Manager of Community Services

   SUBJECT:  Gastown Lighting


        A.   THAT staff proceed with implementing the 1994 Operating Budget
             Management  cut of $41,000 per  year by converting the Gastown
             Style Lighting to a fluorescent source.

        B.   THAT  $80,000 be approved for the conversion work to be funded
             from the Street Lighting Capital account #20/34/3062/999.


        The General Manager  of Community Services  notes that this  report
        requests Council to make a tradeoff between two sets of objectives.
        On the one hand are cost to City taxpayers and general conservation
        of the  environment through energy savings.   On the other hand are
        area  ambiance and heritage authenticity.  The savings in costs and
        the benefits to  the general environment are  undisputed.  Ambiance
        is largely a matter of taste,  and authenticity is arguable.  While
        the Gastown-style  lamp standards are historically  accurate of the
        dominant period  represented in  Gastown, they were  never actually
        used  in  Gastown  itself   until  its  contemporary   restoration.
        Further, contemporary incandescent light bulbs do not replicate the
        colour  temperature of the  carbon filament  bulbs used  during the
        historical  Gastown  era.   Both  public  and private  restorations
        involve degrees  of authenticity and full replication is seldom, if
        ever  achieved.    On balance,  and  noting  that  any decision  is
        reversible  over time  simply by  unscrewing incandescent  bulbs or
        compact  fluorescent  fixtures  from their  identical  sockets, the
        General Manger of Community Services RECOMMENDS A and B.

        The General Manger of Engineering Services RECOMMENDS A and B.


   At its meeting on March 28, 1996 Council resolved:

   That staff proceed with  the Council approved 1994 Operating  Budget cut
   of $41,000 per year for Gastown Lighting and

   That the affected property owners be surveyed for report back to Council
   on whether to:

        proceed  with   a  lighting  conversion  from   incandescent  to  a
        fluorescent source at an estimated annual savings of $41,000; or

        retain the existing incandescent lighting with the estimated annual
        additional costs  assessed against the property  owners through the
        local improvement process.


   The purpose  of this report  is to  present the results  of the  Gastown
   Lighting  survey conducted on the  affected property owners  and to seek
   Council approval to proceed with  converting the lights to a  warm white
   fluorescent source.


   As part of the 1994 Budget Management Program, Council approved a cut of
   $41,000  in  the  operating budget  for  Gastown  street  lighting.   As
   outlined  in the  March  28,1996  report to  Council,  this  cut can  be
   achieved by either converting the lighting to an alternate light source,
   or by property  owners funding  the difference in  electricity costs  to
   retain the incandescent lighting.  

   Community input  was sought from  both the Gastown  Business Improvement
   Society  and the Gastown  Historic Area  Planning Committee.  A lighting
   committee made up from members of these two groups along with staff from
   Heritage  Planning and  Engineering Services  was formed to  address the
   issue.   The committee viewed  the alternate light  sources suggested by
   Engineering Services and concluded  that they were not acceptable.   The
   committee  further objected to the  choices put before  it and requested
   that  Council state that the  incandescent lighting shall  remain at the
   City s cost.  A full account of the committee s position was outlined in
   the report of March 28,1996.

   Engineering  staff suggested  that  most  members  of the  public  would
   consider  the quality  of light  emitted by  the alternate  light source
   close enough to incandescent to be acceptable and presented a sample for
   Council to view in Committee Room #1.  Council resolved that a survey of
   the affected property owners was appropriate for further public input.


   On August  28, 1996,  ten Gastown  style lamp  standards located in  the
   eastern  portion of the 300 block of  Water Street were fitted with warm
   white  fluorescent bulbs   At the same  time a survey  was mailed to the
   owner of  every property with a  Gastown style light  on the street.   A
   sample of the survey is attached as Appendix A.  A total of  259 surveys
   were sent out  with 60 surveys returned, for a response rate of 23%.  Of
   those  that responded  59,  or 98%  voted in  favour  of converting  the
   lighting at no  cost to the  property owners as  displayed on the  Water
   Street test site.  

   A sample of typical comments on the survey follows:

         My property taxes are already too high. 
         Will I  see a reduction in  my taxes after the  conversion is paid
         Keep the lighting levels as low as safety needs require. 
         Ensure  that   the  fluorescent  replacements  closely  match  the
        existing incandescent light. 
         Thanks for the environmentally sound initiative. 

   The fluorescent light replacements on the 300 block of Water Street have
   remained  in place  since August  28, 1996  and  have not  generated any
   complaints to Engineering Services from the public at large.  This would
   indicate that, for most people, the  new lighting is reasonably close to
   incandescent in quality and presumably aesthetically acceptable.


   The  Gastown  Historic Area  Planning  Committee  (GHAPC) continues  its
   ongoing interest and input and has provided comments on this report that
   are attached as appendix B.  The Vancouver Heritage Commission, Heritage
   Vancouver and the Ministry  of Small Business, Tourism and  Culture have
   also  provided  their  input  as attached  in  appendices  C,  D, and  E
   respectively.  The following sections  summarize the positions of  these
   groups and responds to some of the concerns and suggestions.

   GHAPC  reiterated its objections to the proposed conversion on the basis
   of  historic authenticity, the burden  of distributing this  cost over a
   relatively  small number  of  property owners  and  a responsibility  to
   maintain  heritage  standards for  the  public  sector.   GHAPC  further
   suggested that alternate sources  of funding are sought for  the $41,000
   per year.

   The  Vancouver Heritage Commission stated its objections on the basis of
   historical inaccuracy, questions about  the actual cost savings and  the
   appearance  of a double standard  between the public  and private sector
   for  heritage  conservation.    The  Commission  has  further  suggested
   investigation of alternate cost saving measures.

   Heritage Vancouver has  also objected to the conversion  on the basis of
   different standards being applied  to the public and private  sector for
   heritage  conservation  and  has  indicated that  projected  savings  as
   advertised by B.C.  Hydro s PowerSmart  have not been  realized by  some

   The Province  of British Columbia,  Ministry of Small  Business, Tourism
   and Culture  commented that the converted lights in the test area are by
   contrast  harsher than  the existing  lighting.   Again the  issue of  a
   double standard was mentioned.  


   In response to the comments on the B.C. Hydro PowerSmart program:

   The City  currently pays $51,600 every  year to B.C. Hydro  to power the
   Gastown  style  street  lights.   The  expected  savings  in electricity
   payments after  the proposed conversion  to B.C. Hydro  is $42, 000  per
   year.   The City s  own experience with  the PowerSmart program  in 1993
   with  converting  40,000  mercury  vapour lights  has  resulted  in  the
   expected  savings of $600,000 per  year.  However,  since the PowerSmart
   Roadway Lighting program ended  over a year ago, the  Gastown conversion
   is not associated in any way with PowerSmart, nor were any  calculations
   of savings done by B.C. Hydro staff.

   The estimated Gastown electricity savings  have been calculated by  City
   staff and are based on  the difference in power consumption ratings  for
   the two types of light sources and the rate that the City currently pays
   Hydro for  its  street lighting  power.   Each  150  watt bulb  will  be
   replaced with a 28 watt bulb.   The higher cost of fluorescent  bulbs is
   expected to be  offset by a reduction in trouble  shooting and relamping
   costs for no net change in maintenance costs.

   The  Vancouver  Heritage Commission  has  asked  that staff  investigate
   alternate ways to save maintenance costs on the incandescent lighting in
   order to avoid the need for the conversion    The following alternatives
   have been considered:

        a.  Reduce moisture intrusion by resealing all the fixtures.
        b.   Reduce  affect of  vibrations from  traffic through  a damping
        material at the base of the bulb
        c.  Relocate some of the poles farther away from the street edge.

   The City  already intends to  reseal the  fixtures and  has funding  set
   aside for this purpose.  The work was delayed pending the outcome of the
   conversion  proposal so that the two initiatives could be done together.
   This work is required  regardless of the lighting  source to extend  the
   life of the wiring,  connections and poles and prevent  future increases
   in maintenance.   Adding a  damping material at  the base of  every bulb
   could be done  at the same time for a small  incremental cost.  The cost
   of this work is estimated at $73,000.  If this strategy does result in a
   longer life for the  bulbs there could  be savings of  up to $8,000  per

   It  should also be noted  that if the conversion does   proceed, the new
   compact  fluorescent bulbs  would  be installed  using the  current lamp
   bases, which  permit a  return to incandescent,  should alternate  funds
   become available in the future.

   Relocating  the poles is not  advisable as it  will adversely affect the
   lighting  at the centre line of the  roadway and it will not appreciably
   reduce the affect of vibrations.  It further would have a very high cost
   associated with each relocation (up to $6,000 per pole).

   Heritage  Vancouver expressed  an  interest in  using  a more  vibration
   resistant incandescent  bulb as  well as a  shock absorbing  attachment.
   The  City already  uses an extra  long life  and heavy  filament bulb in
   Gastown.  The bulbs are rated for 7,500 hours but our experience is that
   they do not last any longer than 5,000 hours.

   The  public realm elements in  Gastown are important  in contributing to
   the  historic character  of  the area  and  were chosen  carefully  when
   constructed in the  early 1970's to  enhance the surrounding  buildings.
   However, these elements have always been  reproductions  of the original
   street  scape  and many  material  substitutions  were  made to  provide
   Gastown with working streets  rather than function as a  museum exhibit.
   For example,  brick pavers  were placed  in the roadway  instead of  the
   original tar covered wood blocks and modern incandescent bulbs were used
   in place of the original carbon filament bulbs. (or the even earlier and
   briefly used gas lights).  Given  that most of the public realm elements
   in the Gastown  streets are neither authentic  nor historically accurate
   for the location, there has always been  a double standard  or different
   treatment  of the  right-of-way  from the  privately owned  buildings in
   Gastown.   The original  objectives of the  1973 Gastown  beautification
   project;  to provide a safe,  reliable and aesthetically pleasant street
   environment  that enhances  the historic  district were  met with  these
    reproductions  and will still be  met with an aesthetically  acceptable
   alternate light source..


   The fluorescent test area in Gastown has confirmed previous observations
   that  the  fluorescent  light   is  whiter  and  cooler  than   the  old
   incandescent lights.  If the conversion proceeds, it will have an effect
   on the nighttime appearance of the entire historic district.  The effect
   will extend  beyond the tangible appearance of the light.  The City will
   have lost the only remaining concentration of incandescent lights within
   the city limits - a loss of  character, as well as technology.  It  will
   also make it more difficult  for staff to argue persuasively  for owners
   to meet standards of historic authenticity  on privately owned property.
   If changes  to Gastown s lighting  are to proceed,  it should be  in the
   context  of an overall  lighting plan, as requested  by Council in March
   1996.   A lighting  plan  would determine  the extent  of Gastown  style
   lights and the  fate of the few remaining original  fixtures, as well as
   set  guidelines  for the  overall  quality  of the  light.   Council  is
   requested to delay decision on any conversion until the lighting plan is
   completed.  Should the conversion take place before the lighting plan is
   completed,  it is important to  note that the  conservation principle of
    reversibility  would be achieved, as the base of the light fixtures  is
   not being  changed.   If the  funds are eventually  found, or  there are
   significant improvements in incandescent  technology, the light fixtures
   could be changed back.


   On March 28, 1996 Council  instructed staff to proceed with both  a long
   range  lighting plan  for Gastown  and to  implement the  1994 operating
   budget  management  cut.   Further input  from  the property  owners was
   requested  in  order to  determine whether  to  proceed with  a lighting
   conversion  to  a fluorescent  light source  or  to retain  the existing
   lighting with  the estimated annual  cost assessed against  the property
   owners.   In reporting back on  this input we find  that property owners
   are  fully supportive of a conversion, are  not willing to fund the cost
   of  retaining the  existing  lighting and  find  the appearance  of  the
   alternate acceptable.   However,  the heritage  community   is concerned
   with the proposal  on the basis that  incandescent lighting is  the only
   historically authentic  light source for  Gastown and  that this  change
   creates a double  standard for heritage conservation between  the public
   and private realm.

   Council is asked for approval to proceed with the lighting conversion on
   the basis that the property owners are not willing to fund the retention
   of the existing lighting and the  acceptability of the aesthetics of the

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