An effort to curtail excessive boat engine noise on Okanagan Lake has been initiated with the support of the national Decibel Coalition advocacy movement. (File photo)

Muffling excessive boat noise on Okanagan Lake

National Decibel Coalition advocacy group seeks Kelowna support

A grassroots movement has started in Kelowna to seek more efficient and effective Okanagan Lake boat noise enforcement measures.

Aligned with the national Decibel Coalition, initiative supporter Chris Lapointe calls the current Transport Canada boating noise regulations in place, tied to mechanical boat exhaust stipulations, unenforceable for police.

Lapointe, a member of the Okanagan Mission Residents Association board and a boat owner himself, said the issue of boat noise has percolated off and on in Kelowna over the past 20 years.

He says it began to capture public attention in the early 2000s and was revived again in 2008 and 2013 with nothing resolved.

“With the growing popularity of boating and especially this summer where all the hotels are already booked solid and a lot of people will be coming to town to vacation, it is only a matter of time until this issue comes up again,” he said.

Lapointe said his interest right now is to meet with local environment groups, resident and neighbourhood associations and strata councils to discuss the issue and build a groundswell of support before approaching city council to support the Decibel Coalition initiative.

READ MORE: Boat noise stirs up Sicamous council

READ MORE: Kelowna city councillor takes on boat noise

Alan Drinkwater, an active supporter of the Decibel Coalition effort, has joined forces with Lapointe to promote greater local public awareness and support for more stringent boat noise enforcement measures.

Drinkwater said there are four disruptive issues that consistently arise regarding ocean and lake use in Canada: boat noise, wave wakes, high speeds and loud music.

“Of those, the coalition has chosen to have a laser focus on the boat noise aspect,” he said.

As Lower Mainland resident who owns a recreational property in the Shuswap, Drinkwater said the coalition has begun to build momentum since being founded in Ontario in the fall of 2019.

“Our strategy is to go after property owners, neighbourhood associations, recreational groups and environmental groups to join and support the coalition, and then take the issue to municipal and regional district governments to build support,” Drinkwater said.

“Ontario is ahead of us at this point as they have been going at this for a while and have seven local governments in the region who have signed up in support of the coalition at this point,” he said.

Drinkwater said 22 U.S. states have adopted decibel noise laws which have been found to work well, both as an enforcement tool and standing up in court.

“Wisconsin, which has the second-highest level of registered boat pleasure crafts in the U.S. next to Florida, has adopted two aspects of decibel limit laws – one is a shoreline test and the other is a stationary test out on the water,” Drinkwater said.

The laws are enforced using a decibel measuring meter, a science technology measuring tool that would be a similar data collector for police to how a breathalyzer measures the impairment level of motor vehicle drivers.

Drinkwater said Transport Canada hosts annual forums to welcome public input on potential regulation changes, and boat noise was on the agenda for the most recent forum held in April.

“It is on their radar screen because they have heard an earful at these forums from individuals across the country who are fed up with having to endure excessive boat noise,” Drinkwater said.

“But Transport Canada has also made it clear to us they only respond to lobbying. You have to lobby hard to bring about change and the boating industry right now is not on board with us, instead favouring a tweaking of the existing boat exhaust regulations.”

He acknowledges any change is still going to take two to three years to achieve and will require widespread grassroots support across the country, including the RCMP, as the federal government sets boating regulations on open waters.

Lapointe said it is a small fraction of boaters who introduce noise disruption that impacts other boaters and lakeside residents, but it’s to the level where some waterfront homeowners he knows have moved to escape the boat noise annoyance.

He said the boating industry has made huge technological strides to minimize boat engine noise, saying it is a small niche of the boat manufacturing community that chooses to bypass those engine noise muffling advances.

For more information about the Decibel Coalition and supportive efforts ongoing in Kelowna, you can contact Chris Lapointe via email at chris.lapointe@northsands.ca for more information. The Decibel Coalation website is safequiet.ca.

Okanagan

Just Posted

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D area. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control to Electoral Area D; director calls for respectful discussion

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

An Armstrong family that lost their home to a fire on Wednesday still hasn’t found their cat as of Friday, June 18, 2021. (Facebook photo)
Family cat still missing, days after fire destroys Armstrong home

There were no injuries from Wednesday’s blaze, but two days later there’s still no sign of the white feline

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read