City of Vernon debates noise level solution

Vernon council continues to sound off about downtown noise levels

Vernon council continues to sound off about downtown noise levels.

Following a report from city bylaws manager Clint Kanester, council directed administration to prepare and bring forward a report outlining the pros and cons of moving the city’s noise regulations from a qualitative set to a quantitative set.

The city’s current Good Neighbour bylaw is what is known as a qualitative bylaw in which problem noise is regulated subjectively.

If the city goes to a quantitative bylaw, it would mean noise decibel levels are set and would have to be exceeded for a violation to occur.

Staff has been working on the situation since Journey Inn owner Ed Buie, as a delegation to council, asked council to seek and define allowable noise levels in the downtown core.

“We have been doing some work with regards to Mr. Buie’s complaints over the last couple of years,” said Kanester.

“Council will have to make a decision if we’re looking to change from one form of bylaw to another.”

Coun. Juliette Cunningham said Buie was seeking a blend of qualitative and quantitative bylaws which is done in other jurisdictions.

Kanester said it would be difficult to have both.

“You end up going back into the reasonableness of the complaint which is what we do now,” he said.

In his two-page report to council, Kanester said bylaw staff and the City of Vernon RCMP Safe Communities Unit would be meeting with Buie and other affected parties to discuss their concerns.

He also stated that the bylaw division bought a decibel reader in late 2012 and conducted some base readings for the downtown core (seven separate readings at different times up until midnight). Noise levels were not in excess of the Vancouver nightclub noise standard, which the city used in its tests.

Coun. Catherine Lord suggested the city wait until the results of more tests and the meeting with Buie is held before moving ahead.

“I’d like to see these actions done first, then maybe Clint can come back with an update so we know the results of those,” said Lord.

Council voted in favour of the staff recommendation to have administration prepare a report on changing the bylaw.

Lord was opposed.