The teepee lights that shone above Northern Lights casino will never be seen again in Prince Albert, as the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) has made the decision to pull the plug on the iconic lights.
Featured on the rooftops of all their casinos, SIGA made the decision to shut off the lights as they seek more “environmentally friendly operational alternatives” when it comes to their business.
While some casinos will turn the lights on during special occasions, Northern Lights Casino has made the decision to remove them entirely.
“The lights were older, they were well used, and it was time to replace parts, so we decided to completely remove ours,” said Northern Lights general manager Richard Ahenakew.
Ahenakew says that the lights were brought in around five years ago as a way to brand SIGA casinos.
“The original reason we bought the lights was to have a company signature on top of all the casinos that would be recognizable, you could see it and recognize that it was a SIGA casino.”
Ahenakew says that turning off the lights is just part of upgrading the business.
“To me they looked so nice with rain and snow going through them, and they were a nice signature piece,” Ahenakew said. “But at the same time, it’s like in any case when you run a business or own a home, eventually you have to repaint the walls and put in new carpet. “
SIGA’s decision to turn off the lights is good news to the Royal Astronomical Society. The group has been raising awareness of light pollution caused by the lights being pointed directly at the sky.
“I think it’s a really great move,” said Astronomical Society member Rick Huziak.
“It’s something that they really didn’t need in their design to being with, because it just consumed power and was basically just a high-powered sign.
Huziak says that the lights were a nuisance to homeowners, star-gazers, and even migrating birds.
“The people who lived under the lights didn’t like them, so it was a controversy right from the beginning,” Huziak said. “The Painted Hand Casino in Yorkton had the issue of migrating birds flying into the casino lights and dying, so now this will no longer be an issue.”
Huziak says that there are many issues with shining bright lights into the sky, but mostly it is just wasteful.
“If you use lights in an irresponsible manner like pointing them up to the sky, you are just wasting energy,” Huziak said. “It’s great that they are realizing that they can save some money and respect the environment at the same time.”