The Sun Peaks council is introducing a noise bylaw that aims to strike a balance between letting people have peace and quiet and allowing visitors to have fun during their stay in the resort community.
A public input session was held Nov. 27 to hear the views of the residents and property owners regarding the noise bylaw. The revised bylaw will be available online in the first week of December and will receive subsequent readings at the next council meeting.
Under the proposed bylaw, the municipality will be divided into residential, tourism accommodation and village core districts with specific noise levels permitted within each district in the daytime and in the night time.
“What we want to do is make sure people understand that there are hours when people expect it to be reasonably quiet in residential areas, have a little bit more noise in the townhouse areas and a high level of noise in the village,” explained mayor Al Raine. “I would like to have the rules clear so that residents and visitors understand what the expectations are and hopefully reduce the number of incidents that we have.”
Residential areas are permitted to have noise levels not exceeding 60 decibels during the day and 50 decibels at night. The range of a normal conversation is between 50 and 60 decibels.
Tourism accommodation districts, or townhouses, are permitted up to 75 decibels in the daytime and 65 decibels at night time. Busy traffic at five metres is about 70 decibels.
In the village core, 100 decibels (the equivalent of noise made by a jackhammer at two metres) is allowed in the daytime and 70 at night.
While people differed in opinions expressed, many showed approval of the bylaw’s initial draft.
“I’m in favour of the noise bylaw,” said resident Tom Kelleran. “I think the decibel rating should be raised a little bit at some point to accommodate hot tubs so people who want to come here can enjoy that.”
Renate Kals, a property owner, thinks the decibel levels in the bylaw are too high.
“Fifty decibels during the night time, that’s a little bit high because with 50 decibels you cannot sleep,” said Kals. “We’re talking about constant noise.”
While some think a noise bylaw is tricky to enforce, resident Ed Rampone agrees with the council in choosing this approach.
“I think a quantitative approach is absolutely necessary as a basis,” said Rampone. “It doesn’t rule out a common sense approach. It doesn’t rule out the use of warnings, for example, telling people ‘We’ve had a complaint, please tone it down.’ It doesn’t rule out people addressing their own issues with neighbours. But in the end you’ve got to have a basis, a guideline, as a reference point to say ‘If all else fails, here you go’. Enforcement is the last step in a process.”
Excluding accommodation in the village core, rental property owners are required to post a notice in their property informing tenants about the details of the noise bylaw. The notice will include the permitted noise levels, hours when they are in effect and the corresponding penalty. Rental property owners are also required to provide tenants or any person intending to rent the property with a copy of the bylaw.
“Our hope is that we can also tie some responsibility to the property owner, so that if the same property is the source of problems, then it will cost the property owner money,” Raine added.
For a copy of the draft, visit www.sunpeaksmunicipality.ca and click on Municipal Library.