Excessive noise in the municipality is in the crosshairs of North Cowichan.
Staff at North Cowichan have been directed by council in a unanimous vote to prepare a report on possible measures the municipality could take to mitigate noise complaints.
Coun. Christopher Justice put forward the successful motion at the council meeting on Nov. 1 after the municipality received complaints in recent weeks regarding loud noises from barking dogs at a local kennel and construction noises from a housing development, among others.
In his motion, Justice asked that staff take into account the multiple aspects of noise when writing the report; including its frequency, predictability, complexity, duration and decibel levels which can lead to annoyance and negative health and other effects on residents’ well-being.
He said that in residential areas, there are shift workers sleeping, home businesses operating and an increasing number of people working remotely from home during regular business hours.
“We all know the goal of our existing noise bylaw is to prevent the disturbance of the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment and convenience of residents, but it seems our bylaw is not achieving this to an appropriate degree,” Justice said.
“Our Official Community Plan promises efforts will be made to prevent the creation of new sources of noise pollution and that we identify and mitigate the impacts of current noise sources. It seems necessary to look at the current bylaw with a view to better understand how it’s meeting the needs of our community.”
Coun. Tek Manhas recalled that his father was a shift worker who had to contend with loud noises in his community as he slept, so he’s looking forward to the staff report on the issue.
Coun. Debra Toporowski agreed, saying that loud noises can be irritating to people who work shifts or work at home.
“We’ve been getting increased concerns of noise from (construction sites) and all sorts of things,” she said.
“I’ll be interested in seeing the report.”
Coun. Bruce Findlay said that work on water upgrades just outside his place of business and his office in recent weeks left his office and head “shaking”.
He said he saw it as a necessary evil as water services have to be upgraded.
“That directly affected me which I thought was interesting because I’m generally not in favour of changes to noise bylaws, but I’ll be interested see what comes forward in the staff report,” Findlay said.
Coun. Mike Caljouw said the only concern he has is whether any changes to the bylaw would hamper development in North Cowichan.
But he said he thinks it’s a good idea to have staff prepare a report on the issue.