Man in eastern Newfoundland arrested for pulling down disputed floodlights: police

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A man in Newfoundland has been arrested for damaging floodlights at the centre of a dispute in a historic fishing village on the St. John's waterfront.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says officers responded to a report of vandalism last night at 1:20 a.m., and a 32-year-old suspect was later charged with trespassing and causing property damage in the Outer Battery.

Neighbours have complained the lights shine all night into the bedrooms of local homes and can be seen from across the harbour.

The lights were mounted on a shed last spring by resident Colin Way.

Earlier this week, St. John's city council rejected a motion seeking a "nuisance lighting" bylaw, though a few councillors have urged Way to remove the lights.

One councillor has said the municipality doesn't have the power to legislate good neighbours.

Court documents show Way was charged earlier this year with one count of extortion and two counts of mischief by interfering with use of property.

His lawyer, Bob Buckingham, says one mischief charge is related to the lights, and the others are related to other disputes in the same neighbourhood.

Way has declined to comment as the matter is before the courts.

The dispute has inspired a song and many online memes, including photos that purport to show that the lights can be seen from space.

The neighbourhood is perched in a cliff face near the entrance to the harbour, and its colourful homes and fishing stages are often featured in the city's tourism ads.

The neighbourhood's main road leads to the start of a popular hiking trail that climbs around the back of Signal Hill, a national historic site.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press