Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Fall 2006 - page 5

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Noise issues get more media attention

Due to several factors, not least of which is the good work of some of our members, the reporting of noise issues in the media has increased. That, in turn, helps to make the public more aware of the many problems noise causes and, we hope, more people will begin to actively do something to prevent or reduce harmful noise.

J. Rose has been working with the Edmonton police department and council to reduce noise from loud motorbikes. Councillors there have received many more complaints in the last 2 years than ever before. Police are handing $ 115 tickets to offenders and give them 30 days to change their mufflers. Mr. Rose was called by police 3 times over the summer and asked if he noticed any improvement in the noise problem, which he did. This shows that proper enforcement does make a difference. Edmonton Journal correspondent Scott McKeen wrote a series of excellent articles during the summer in which he eloquently describes the types with loud pipes. He received passionate hate-mail for it that proves he hit the nail on the head.

In early August, Vancouver police had a 5-day blitz, checking out motorbikes with modified mufflers. Offenders were handed a $ 109 ticket and 3 demerit points on the driver's licence. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority received about 800 noise complaints in 2005. Some 30% of that were triggered by construction, 20% by loud music, and 16% by air-conditioning and ventilation, followed by other irritants such as power equipment and garbage trucks. Articles on noise in general and loud motorbikes and low-flying aircraft in particular, frequently appeared in The Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Vancouver Courier, The Globe and Mail and 24 Hours during the spring and summer. One article came to us from K. Deux in Saskatoon, where Joanne Paul- son of the Star Phoenix pilloried a host of noise sources, especially the boom-boxes.

Locally we have also had interviews with CBC Radio 1,CKNW radio, CFUN 1410 radio and the German Today programme on Channel M TV on the subject of noise. CBC Radio's Piya Chattopadhayay produced a short documentary about noise that was aired on the news at least twice this year. Even environmental organizations, who too often crank up the volume on amplifiers at rallies and events, have come to see the


light, or rather, hear the noise. In the Summer, 2006 edition of Finding Solutions (David Suzuki Foundation), Dave Taylor expressed a particular peeve over noisy, polluting lawn-grooming equipment. Our compliment to Mr. Taylor, and thanks to Ann for alerting us to it.

We try to maintain at least some of that momentum. In early August we sent a letter to the traffic section of the Vancouver police dept. offering an idea of how to more economically, efficiently and successfully charge boom-car offenders. The possibility of reactivating the Urban Noise Task Force after 10 years is being explored by R. Silverson. Many of the 165 recommendations were not implemented and noise only increased since then.

In Albany, New York, our member J. Morse is working hard to abate noise of all kinds. He reported of the "Plate Hunter 900" technology to help catch scofflaws and issue citations much quicker than was previously possible. We have no particular information about the Plate Hunter, which is said to be used to track and catch perpetrators of a wide variety of offences, including infractions of noise ordinances, loud mufflers etc.

The Lorain, Ohio, Morning Journal reported that police officers in that city were destroying boom-car equipment that they had confiscated.

Very interestingly, on February 24, 2006, Albany council amended their noise ordinance to include the following provision:

255 - 34. Enforcement.

B. Any person who observes or has knowledge of a violation of this Article may file a signed deposition, under oath, with a police officer, specifying the objectionable conduct, the date thereof, and the name and address, if known, of the alleged violator. A police officer shall investigate each complaint and, if the complaint is supported by probable cause, issue a notice of violation therefore.

General purpose of legislation: To allow citizens who have witnessed a noise violation to sign a deposition that can be used by the police department to issue a notice of violation for the offence. Currently, the police can only issue a notice of violation if they have witnessed the offence.

Aircraft noise on the rise

Unlike other motor-vehicle traffic on land, aircraft noise descends like a cone, covering everything in a full circle. There was a tremendous increase in air traffic around Vancouver and Victoria in recent time. Especially small aircraft (i.e. float-planes and helicopters) are proliferating and fly very low. Fixed-wing aircraft are required to fly only 1,000 feet (about 300 metres) above the highest point within a 2,000-foot radius in a built-up area. Helicopters have to fly 1,000 feet above the highest point within a 500-foot radius.
When considering the high level of noise that these aircraft generate, 300 metres in the air does not at all give enough attenuation to feel comfortable below.


We also suspect that many a pilot ignores the rules and flies below the required minimum height. Consequently, ever more residents in the afflicted areas are adversely affected by this rapidly growing problem. Many are utterly frustrated and some have decided to work at improving this bad situation.

On Vancouver Island, RAFHI (Residents Against Floatplane and Helicopter Intrusion; http://members.shaw.ca/rafhi ) was established. In Vancouver concerned residents may contact <nomorenoise@hotmail.com> or <info@quiet.org> to discuss this matter and plan some action.

Entire contents © 2006 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society
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