Message from the Outgoing President Cont'd...
When I asked the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to impose decibel limits on events held on the grounds, I was told that this would be an infringement on freedom of speech. Sadly, these two incidents are typical of the attitudes we face.
At the municipal level things are scarcely better. Bylaws are worded in such a way that it is essentially impossible to bring a successful complaint. One large Vancouver Island municipality has laid not one single charge under the noise bylaw in over a year, and the mayor has instructed the bylaw enforcement office to ignore complaints from certain individuals who have succeeded in getting charges laid in the past.
The City of Victoria has spent tens of thousands of dollars in an effort to prove its legal right to impose a noisy music festival on Beacon Hill Park, a covenanted natural area in the middle of a residential district.
The City of Victoria also refuses to take a stand on limiting seaplane flights into the Inner Harbour, flights which are now so frequent that vast areas of the CRD endure almost continual assault from their shattering roar. Laws against unmuffled motorcycles continue to be ignored by most police forces, and boom cars assault us with impunity in our own homes.
Underlying these problems is the belief that noise is just a minor nuisance, one of the inconveniences of modern life. We have to break down this attitude; it is the first task we face. The primary mandate of the Right to Quiet Society is to raise awareness. Only when the proper climate has been created will fundamental social and legal changes take place.
I wish I could look back at the last four years and say that we have made major strides in that direction. Sadly, I cannot. We have done what we could, but we are still a tiny group. Almost all of the administrative work, communications, and maintenance of our Internet resources is done by three or four people. In the past we've appealed to the membership to take a more active part. Some of you have responded with offers to donate your time. If the Board of Directors hasn't followed up with you, it's because we simply haven't had the resources to organize any major projects.
There are many things we could be doing: getting educational materials into the schools, making more public appearances, systematically lobbying governments. But to do these things we need people with ideas, as well as the energy to translate those ideas into action. If you're one of those people, please don't wait for the board to contact you -- pick up the phone and let them know what you want to do.
As for me, I will be stepping down at our AGM in October. In my time as president I have tried to use my communication skills to get our message out, but I do not have the organizational or motivational skills that the position calls for. I'm also a little burned out, and when apathy sets in, it's time to move on to other things.
I want to thank all those members who have made the last four years so rewarding on a personal level. It's been great to be part of a community filled with people like Hans Schmid, Ilse Schnirch, Roy Silverson, Bob Kerr, David Staudacher, Tom Hall, Jacqueline Goldman, Jeremy Tatum, and the rest of the Victoria members who attended our local meetings. I also want to thank Kathleen Hamilton for editing this issue of the newsletter. May you all have that greatest blessing of all, a quiet life.
Notice of Annual General Meeting
Date: Thursday, October 14, 1999
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: SPEC, 2150 Maple Street
(near 6th Avenue), Vancouver
Speaker: Kathy Pichora-Fuller, Ph.D.
Director of IHEAR, UBC
Topic: Is there more noise today?
Facts and fiction.