Mono Council eyeing a new noise bylaw

August 5, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Mono Council has passed a motion advising the town solicitor to develop a draft proposed noise bylaw for council to review and bring forward to members of the public.

Over the last couple years, the Town’s current noise bylaw has been called into question by some members of the public, particularly Marc Darby, a resident of the Island Lake estate subdivision who feels that noise levels from events held at both the event centre in Orangeville Fairgrounds and the Island Lake Conservation Area have exceeded a comfort level for those living in the area.

The issue has been brought before council a number of times, but review of the bylaw was shelved pending the last municipal election.

Discussion at last week’s Council meeting was about whether Council wished to proceed with looking into changing the current bylaw.

“One of my problems with the whole issue is that I don’t think our current bylaw is understood, and that makes it difficult to enforce,” explained Councillor Fred Nix, who recently went, at Mr. Darby’s request,  to check out the noise of an event at the fairgrounds. “When I went out the other night to listen to the sound coming from [there], as far as I was concerned, that event was in violation of our bylaw.”

The current bylaw states that “operation of any electronic device or group of electronic devices incorporated for the production, reproduction, or amplification of sound other than a security alarm” is prohibited after 5 p.m. But it does not specify whether that noise in question is outdoors or indoors.

“I don’t think that Council or the event centre really understands [what this means],” said Councillor Nix. “That frustrates me, but I also admit that I don’t have any suggestions on how to improve it.”

One reason that the current bylaw appears outdated and may not necessarily provide much in the way of protection for residents is that it was originally constructed to deal with the issue of dog noise coming from local kennels, which are no longer a problem in the community.

“The current bylaw, as I’ve seen it, is a good beginning [point],” said Deputy Mayor Ken McGhee. “The difficulty when we put things on paper like ‘people have the right to an environment free from noise’ is that statement is so subjective it can cause issues. People keep saying they move to the country for quiet, but it’s not quiet here; it’s just a different type of noise.”

He suggested a good starting point would be for Council to look at the kind of things they would like to accomplish with the bylaw. He also suggested that if residents would contact the correct people with a complaint, there might be a better chance at enforcing the bylaw.

“The ambient level setting can change depending on the community,” explained Deputy Mayor McGhee. “I think we do have a current process in place, and it needs to be followed. If an individual has a concern for the noise levels, they need to contact the Bylaw Officer or the OPP. I can’t do anything about enforcing [the bylaw], particularly if I’m not in town at the time.”

He also added that the people hosting the events need to take on more responsibility when it comes to keeping the noise levels within the bylaw, both for individuals in Mono, as well as those attending the event.

“I [do] think 5:30 p.m. is a ridiculous cut-off time,” he said. “I think there are things that can to be done, but we definitely need to do something. We spend an inordinate amount of time on council dealing with noise infractions, and it is not in our power to legislate everything.”

Council voted to have the solicitor’s recommendation in the form of the draft proposal brought back to council to contemplate. Once Council has seen the draft proposal, the next step will be to present it to members of the public, to receive comments and input from residents on the bylaw, before it will move forward to development of the new bylaw.

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