The City of Nanaimo is doing its part for Earth Hour on Saturday (March 19).
The global environmental initiative will see lights turned off between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., with the aim of conserving energy. The city will turn off non-essential lights at Vancouver Island Conference Centre and will advertise Earth Hour on the Front Street LED screen.
Additionally, it will hold glow-in-the-dark skating at Nanaimo Ice Centre between 7 and 9 p.m.
Scott Pamminger, the municipality’s infrastructure planning and energy manager, said the city is continuing to switch from older incandescent-style and high-intensity discharge lighting to LED lights – it can generally reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent, he said.
A study is also set to begin in the next month, examining further energy-efficient lighting, Pamminger said.
“The thing we are going to be looking at is street lighting more because a lot of those are not LED, but we’ll be looking at those in the near future,” said Pamminger.
The study is estimated to take six months, he said.
As for the skate, Gary Paterson, city recreation coordinator, said it is in line with the environmental theme.
“We’re going to do our LED and our energy-efficient glow lights … skate under the stars is the theme,” said Paterson.
There will be ambient lighting and the ice will be lit in “patches” and colours, Paterson said.
In terms of safety, Paterson said ice centre staff has had experience with roller skating and ice skating events over the years and found that once people are on the ice and their eyes have adjusted, they have a good time.