Business owners ponder noise bylaw repercussions

A noise bylaw has been implemented in Sun Peaks to deal with noise issues in the community. The noise bylaw was adopted by council on Dec. 20.
The noise bylaw sets noise limits in the evening for three distinct areas in the resort. For the residential area, the noise limit is at 50 decibels, equivalent to the noise of a normal conversation. In tourist accommodations, it’s set at 65 decibels. This is equivalent to a living room with music playing quietly. In the village core, the loudest noise allowed is 70 decibels, which is similar to the sound of an alarm clock.
At Bottom’s Bar and Grill, one of the busiest places in the village, manager Nathan Cross is already familiar with managing noise and complaints. He doesn’t see the bylaw changing the way he operates his business.
“We go to pretty long efforts to already reduce the noise at our patios and things like that,” said Cross. “We’ve done away with a couple of things and (put) procedures in place to limit as much noise as we can outside. I don’t think anything will change for us.”
For Silvia Erler, owner of Sun Peaks Lodge, implementing a noise bylaw will always be a bit of a balancing act.
“Honestly, the village core will always be the loudest, having the restaurants and the bars in the village. I think you have to give a little bit more here. But on the other hand, it shouldn’t be too much (because you might get complaints).”
As for the nightly rentals in residential areas, she said she doesn’t mind if people operate them as long as it’s quiet.
“Overall, I really like it and I really appreciate all the work because I know there was a lot of work that went into this.” Erler said she likes the fact that the council has recognized the importance of creating three categories for noise levels. She also likes the fact the bylaw relies on decibel reading, which can be measured.
Erler said noise complaints are infrequent although it does happen sometimes during Christmas season and other busy periods.
“If you have a bylaw, that’s what’s been agreed on,” she explained. “Even if customers are complaining, you can tell them, that’s the rule. And if we have it, it can be posted on the website so people know upfront what to expect.”
“There’s always going to be the rare problem situation where people are making noise and are bothering somebody else. If they’re given a warning by the bylaw enforcement officer that they’re in contravention of the noise bylaw and they’re disturbing neighbours, it’s rare people will continue,” explained Mayor Al Raine. “If they’re having fun, it might take 10 or 15 minutes, but most people, upon being given notice that they’re disturbing neighbours will quiet down. I’m relying on the good common sense and respect that 99 per cent of people have.”

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