More noise about noise in Queen Charlotte

  • Jul. 9, 2010 12:00 p.m.

A draft noise bylaw is in the works for Queen Charlotte after the topic was put back on the table at the recent council meeting. On July 5, council voted three in favour and one against a motion directing staff to prepare a draft bylaw, along with a policy for implementing the bylaw and a process for consultation with the community. Councillor Kris Olsen voted against the motion, saying it was not the right time for a noise bylaw in the village. “I don’t think we should enter into this realm until we understand where our community lays,” he said, referring to the Official Community Planning process. “Putting this piece of process in place is stifling,” he said. Other councillors disagreed. “I don’t want to see discussion shut down,” said Councillor Greg Martin. “I want to move through the process and see what this beast is.” Councillor Gladys Noddin added, “I’m also not convinced we need a bylaw, but I need to see it before I can decide whether I want it or not.” Councillor Leslie Johnson said she has had several discussions with people “of different stripes and persuasions” on the topic and she thinks it is worth looking at. “We want to encourage debate. I know there is sentiment on both sides. I hope we can come up with something that meets most people’s needs.” Councillors discussed using this as a model for a process for other proposed bylaws in community. In the preamble to the motion, Mayor Carol Kulesha repeated some of the concerns that brought the issue to the council’s attention in the first place. She said people have complained of roosters, idling machinery, noisy parties during the week, noise outside the teen centre late at night, or at the skateboard park. She also spoke of QC RCMP Sergeant Rob Knapton’s input. In a written statement, he said that a well-crafted noise bylaw would be beneficial to the RCMP, in that it would provide a tool to deal with any significant issues. “In the vast majority of cases, simply speaking to the offending party is enough,” he said. But in situations where the offending party is unwilling to comply, his officers would look towards enforcement be it with a ticket or whatever the prescribed process is. One resident spoke against a noise bylaw at the meeting. Donnette Farrell attended the Community Dialogue on June 30 and said the majority of people (19 attended) there felt they didn’t want a noise bylaw at this time. With less than 25 noise complaints a year, it didn’t seem necessary. What people did want is a process for dealing with regulations and to be involved in the discussion, she said. Councillor Olsen also noted the small number of complaints and was concerned that a bylaw, if it is approved, would be complaint driven. “The same people always complain,” he said. “The one person who complains is going to drive this. Then (others) are going to be the victim of the noise bylaw.” Chief administrative officer Bill Beamish noted that the noise bylaw was on council’s agenda again, because a resolution was made to put it back on the table when Councillor Noddin returned, not because of the community dialogue discussions. He also said people at the dialogue session were looking for a process, not simply a response or reaction to regulatory issues. On the other hand, the province doesn’t provide another avenue for a community to deal with noise, he said. Policies and permits are not an option. Once the motion to create a draft bylaw passed Mayor Kulesha spoke again. “I see this as how we would deal in general with what is the reason for going for a bylaw,” she said.