The Carrickalinga Ratepayers Association is pushing ahead with an application for the town to become Australia’s first Dark Sky Community after gaining support from the Yankalilla District Council.
The association and council are working together in order to adopt a Dark Sky Lighting Policy which is required in order to progress the application to become a globally recognised accreditation.
Professor Chris Daniels, a ratepayer and resident of Carrickalinga, is one of the community’s strong advocates for Carrickalinga to become a Dark Sky Community.
“We have this issue now where big cities produce a huge amount of light,” he said.
“They produce a dull glow which actually inhibits our view of the stars, and this is a really big issue because our kids are growing up without seeing stars.”
The dark-sky movement primarily promotes astronomy by minimising light pollution. Yet, astronomy is not the only objective of conserving a dark sky, Daniels said.
“The lack of access to true darkness at night has big health issues for us. We are designed to sleep in darkness and when we have too much light, that can have a number of health effects,” he said.
“It’s also a really big issue for nature. Many animals orientate with the stars or need darkness during the night to hunt, seek food and to seek shelter.”
The town’s 38 streetlights will be upgraded, with the help of SA Power Networks, in order to prevent artificial light haemorrhaging into the sky.
Daniels said this upgrade can be achieved for little cost and effort because the community members driving the proposal have agreed to be responsible for all activities required to receive a Dark Skies Communities Accreditation, including the cost of light shields and the development of a Dark Sky Lighting Policy.
Ratepayers will be given time to upgrade lighting on their property to less wasteful, more targeted and energy-efficient forms.
Following this, Carrickalinga could become one of less than 40 Dark Sky Communities globally.
The local council is seeking public feedback on the Dark Sky Lighting Policy draft through an online survey, or by sending an email to email@example.com or writing to the District Council of Yankalilla, P O Box 9, Yankalilla SA 5203.
Words: Katarina Bozic
Image: The centre of the Milky Way as seen from Wirrina, near Carrickalinga, The Backyard Universe