MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Joseph Lyons

Geographical Areas

Essex County, Ontario, Canada; British Columbia, Canada; the Netherlands


This comprehensive research investigates the intricate interplay between the thriving commercial greenhouse industry and the pressing concern of nocturnal light pollution in a focussed area of Ontario, Canada, and the Netherlands. The study addresses the multifaceted challenge of managing greenhouse-related light pollution, which emerges as an unintended consequence of employing supplementary lighting to extend growing seasons and enhance crop yields. The analysis of jurisdictional approaches reveals the complexities and the varied success achieved in addressing this issue.In Ontario, particularly in and near the County of Essex, the response to greenhouse-related light pollution has primarily been reactive, with municipalities passing light nuisance by-laws under the province’s Municipal Act. However, the lack of a comprehensive legal framework addressing greenhouse lighting in other provincial acts, such as the Planning Act and the Environmental Protection Act, has led to a fragmented approach, resulting in inconsistent outcomes. The jurisdictional scan indicates that Ontario's current approach may benefit from greater coordination and harmonization of efforts to minimize disturbances for nearby residents.In contrast, the Netherlands has adopted a proactive and comprehensive approach, driven by decentralized policies targeting specific challenges unique to different regions. The country leverages the "Light/Dark Handbook" as a guiding resource, facilitating collaboration between provinces and stakeholders. This decentralized model allows local authorities to implement targeted strategies, resulting in a cohesive and efficient response to light pollution concerns. Moreover, successful examples of greenhouse clusters in the Netherlands, such as Agriport A7, and which are akin to industrial parks in North America, demonstrate the effectiveness of private-public partnerships and the involvement of stakeholders in policy development.The research highlights the importance of a coordinated and collaborative approach that aligns the interests of governmental bodies, greenhouse growers, and the public. By drawing lessons from the Netherlands' multifaceted model, Ontario can implement more cohesive efforts to combat light pollution while fostering sustainable and environmentally conscious greenhouse practices. The research underscores the significance of involving stakeholders, creating centralized guiding documents, and providing financial incentives to ensure the harmonious coexistence of agricultural productivity and environmental preservation. As awareness of light pollution's impact continues to grow, the adoption of comprehensive and integrated strategies becomes essential for balancing the needs of the greenhouse industry with the imperative of environmental stewardship.