EconomyIt's night in villaville, hunting useless lights

It’s night in villaville, hunting useless lights


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This Tuesday, November 22, the hive sleeps in almost total darkness. “Mondeville 2 is off, it’s really impressive,” comments Mikael Marie, deputy mayor of Mondeville in charge of urban planning and ecological transition, as he drives up to the huge shopping area at the gates of Caen. Together with his colleague Serge Ricci (Associate Delegate for Land Affairs), the two elected officials have been driving around the city since 4 am to inspect the neon signs. As of October 7, the rules have been tightened, requiring lights to be turned off between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. for signs, billboards, windows, or even indoor lighting for unoccupied spaces.

“We held the first round on September 17 and noted 49 violations,” Serge Ricci poses. The violators were contacted by mail. We come to see if they turned off the light.” In mid-September, “only” 30 signs and 19 billboards illuminated the sleeping city unnecessarily. “Pretty good surprise” according to Mikael Marie.

20 offenses instead of 49

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The Chosen One finds continuation of his feelings from the beginning of the November tour. Several sites have aligned. But very quickly, the first stop. The big billboard is still glowing. The two chosen leave. One takes a picture with a timestamp. The other registers the business and location. This report will be sent to the prosecutor, who will decide on possible prosecution. The offense is punishable by a fine of 750 euros per sign.

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For two years, the city of Mondeville has been raising awareness on these issues. The stakes are high. “According to our estimates, there are 10,000 jobs in the city. These are between 450 and 500 signs, each with several light panels,” explains Mikael Marie. The pros seem to rather “play the game” and respect the new rules despite resistance.

“The store responded to our letter explaining that keeping its sign illuminated might attract a future customer who passes by at night,” night inspectors said. But besides this particular case, there is also “arm wrestling” with poster artists. The latter also defended their interests in letters demanding compliance.

This November 22nd they are basically dragging the elected representatives of Mondeville out of the car. Not even one in particular: poster artist Exterion with eight illuminated panels. Multiplied by 750 euros, it could cost him dearly. The same goes for stores like Norauto, Dorcel store, Buffalo Grill or La Foir’fouille lit up in the middle of the night when they shouldn’t be. Some places benefit from exceptions such as 24 hour events such as hotels. Parking is not affected either. This will not stop the municipality from contacting companies with very generous coverage to try and persuade them to reduce it.

“Turning off at this time doesn’t really deprive anyone of light and helps reduce light pollution. This is good for the environment and for saving energy,” says Mikael Marie. The tour ends with a balance sheet in a clear progression. From 49 offences, the number was reduced to 20. Thus, these 20 are subject to punishment for repeat offenses or a warning letter for new offenders.

Return to the town hall around 5:30 am. Street lights that were switched off at 23:00 are switched on again. Time to set all the clocks, it will soon be around 6 am. Thanks to the efforts of professionals, the night in Mondeville looks very dark.

Source: Le Parisien

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