Letter to the Editor
The new Morinville Noise Bylaw and the Morinville Community Cultural Centre
Prior to the building of the Morinville Community Cultural Centre I brought up the concern that noise from events from this Centre could potentially have a negative impact on the residences of 99A & 99 Ave just across the street, affecting our health and property values. The Town was quick to point out that the new Noise Bylaw was in the process of being written and that it would protect residences from nuisance noise levels.
The industry standards of 60 decibels (dB) for daytime and 50 dB for night time would be in place as enforcement benchmarks and would have to be exceeded by 5 dB for a period of one hour before enforcement action could take place.
During the Appeal of the Developmental Permit for the Cultural Centre, I presented the Appeals Board with a demonstration of exactly how loud and unacceptable these noise levels are. Information from Health Canada and the World Health Organization was also presented to shed light on health concerns of this level of noise intrusion. Also presented to the Board at this time was an independent study by Acoustic Consultants Inc. on the noise concerns of the Centre, which concluded that residences adjacent the Centre could experience noise levels loud enough to interfere with speech in their own back yards during a concert event.
For whatever reason, these benchmark levels did not appear within the new Noise Bylaw. In fact, no measurable levels are mentioned. So I contacted the Town Bylaw Officer for clarification as to what level of noise would be considered to be in contradiction of the new Bylaw. He could not or would not answer this question, and passed it onto the Interim Enforcement Services Officer and she in turned passed it off to the CAO of the Town. Our guarantee of protection has been reduced to this: “findings are such that until the Community Cultural Centre is constructed there is no historical data to warrant an enforcement guarantee of curtailing noise decibels at the 50-60 [db] noise range.” And “As the Community Cultural Centre begins its programming and occupancy, we will begin to build data to provide appropriate response measures to any problems with excessive noise.”
This Town has moved and continues to move recklessly ahead with this project: not conducting pertinent studies prior to building, ignoring its own policies and now refusing to protect the residences of this town until they build a data base of complaints and damages. But the question remains, what benchmark will be used as they build this database? Instead of being pro-active and building in noise attenuation, this Town is willingly going to subject adjacent residences to the annoyance and possible health repercussions while it thinks about it.
The election is coming; hopefully there will be a number of new candidates.