Skip to content

Here's what's up with that bright beam of light on Vancouver shoreline

Many North Shore residents puzzled by pillar of light

North Shore residents who spotted a beam of light emerging from Burrard Inlet earlier this week weren’t witnessing an alien abduction or Pink Floyd laser light show revival – just a slightly malfunctioning new crane.

The lights were coming from one of two new cranes being installed at the Centerm container terminal in Vancouver, which are still in the commissioning phase, according to DP World Vancouver, the company that owns them.

“During the energization of the cranes, the lights which normally safely illuminate the working area below, were not in their usual downward working position, due to commissioning activities,” a statement from the company read. “Power to the cranes has now been installed and commissioning continues. The lights will not be on in the upright position throughout the remainder of the commissioning.”

Several readers contacted the North Shore News to ask what the lights were and if they would be permanent.

It’s not the first time new waterfront industrial infrastructure has left North Shore residents feeling blinded by the light. When the G3 grain terminal was nearing the end of its commission phase in 2020, crews inadvertently left the daytime white strobe light on overnight, which also lit up the bedrooms and living rooms of the Calverhall neighbourhood.

Centerm’s expansion project includes new cranes and road improvements on the south shore. The company estimates the project will create 800 to 900 new jobs in operations plus another 1,700-1,900 in indirect jobs elsewhere through the port and supply chain.

“The work on the terminal will help meet anticipated near-term demand for containers to be shipped through Vancouver while the South Shore Access Project will provide improved access for customers, suppliers and our staff and benefit the entire south shore community,” DP World’s statement read.