Now that construction is underway on the south west portion of the Calgary Ring Road, many M.D. of Foothills residents in the area are getting concerned.

Suzanne Oel, Division 4, M.D. of Foothills councillor, says residents are worried the lights on the roads will impact services and their way of life.

"We're all concerned about lighting for the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, which is also a dark sky preserve, and the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory which does a tremendous amount of important and international scale research."

Oel says they have taken those concerns seriously and they have met with Alberta Transportation and Safety to see if they can find a suitable solution and also to ensure their concerns are being heard.

"We just want to continue that dialogue and hope if there's any improvements in the future that they could even step up what they're doing right now." Oel says "We know they're following their processes, Alberta Transportation protocols and safety guidelines, but we're just not sure if that will still have an effect on the dark skies.

Oel is waiting on approval to start an awareness campaign on the importance of dark skies.

She plans on putting signage up giving residents and visitors a link to more information.

"It will help to create awareness in our community, we already have a dark sky bylaw and that is something that has been in place since 2009." Oel adds "Creating awareness about an issue in a positive way is always a challenge so we're trying to come up with an idea where we can share that message and make it positive."

The signage will point out that you are in 'Dark Sky Country' and send a message to remember to look at the stars.

"The goal of creating this awareness is to preserve the enjoyment of the dark skies for many reasons, including the observatory, the nocturnal preserve, and also for all the residents who love to view the skies at night."

Oel says if this leg of Stoney Trail is built the same way as the eastern one, there will be too much glow in the area to get a good look at the sky.

Experts from the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation area say light pollution has an impact on birds, bugs and bat populations as well as the quality of sleep in humans and animals alike.

Oel says talks with Alberta Transportation and construction/project managers aren't over and together they hope to find a reasonable solution.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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