Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Fall 2008 - page 8


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New numbers to call regarding noise in Vancouver

On April 1st, enforcement of the Noise Control Bylaw reverted to the City of Vancouver from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Numbers to call:

  • Vancouver Police Department non-emergency number: 604-717-3321(at any time)
  • Noise inspectors’ hotline at City Hall: 604-873-7753 or 604-873-7389, at the Department of Property Use Inspection during regular hours on weekdays.

Other numbers:

  • Regarding barking dogs, the number to call is 604-871-6888.
  • About idling tour buses call 604-257-8727, and the idle-free hotline is 604-257-2404 (www.idlefree.ca).
  • Regarding aircraft noise, the YVR noise-line is 604-207-7097.
  • Transport Canada’s noise hotline is 604-666-4916 and for Civil Aviation Enforcement call 604-666-7568.

For corresponding numbers in other municipalities, please check your local phonebook.

Prevent and abate noise an up-hill battle

Getting the attention of the oblivious
Never was there a more apt, if overused, phrase than what I have in the subject line: to make our world, our corner of it, quieter, is indeed an uphill battle. Most people, I fear, are not in the least aware of the noise surrounding them. They work in restaurants where  music competes with the clatter of dishes, the loud wheeze of a  cappuccino machine, the electronic "feedback" sounds of a cash register, and fighting to be heard above it all, human voices.

Stores have piped in music, even stores which might cater to older clientele who don't listen to the kind of music being played—because that music, although ostensibly for the customer, is programmed by  and mostly listened to (if they are aware of it at all) by the young sales staff.

I'm a HandyDART driver. I drive the elderly and disabled around town to medical and social appointments. My bus has a typical rattling diesel engine. It has a lift gate which bangs loudly as I drive over uneven streets and speed- bumps, so much so that I've jammed a wooden  wedge into one part of it to reduce one of the noises, but not all.

All day long I listen to traffic, to the incessant roar of engines, car horns, and sirens. It exhausts me. When I finish work I must walk a few kilometres to the nearest bus stop and am again assaulted by traffic (S.E. Marine Drive; a lot of traffic).

Sometimes, when walking to and from work (but never while driving) I wear lightweight

 

headphones so I can listen to a CBC podcast on my iPod, but it is only effective, and audible, on quieter side streets. I have to pause it as I near a main road because I don't want to crank up the volume to drown out the noise around me.

What I'm getting around to, is that I want to create a Quiet Sunday. Not a quiet minute, or two, but a morning—at least a morning. Can we not have at least a single morning, six to noon, of peace and quiet?!

Of course the question is, how could or would this be implemented. No cars in Stanley Park: that's easy. How about no cars allowed on some of the major throughways, would that work? Probably not.

Campaign needed
So: a campaign is needed. And still more than that. We need to make people aware of the noise around them. Perhaps we need to create a noise‑scape, a soundscape recording, something truly horrendous. Where would it  play? No radio station I can think of, except perhaps a segment, along with an interview of one of the Right-to-Quiet people, on the CBC locally.

I'm rambling. I want to DO something. I cannot, presently, afford contributions, memberships, etc. But I want to bring noise, specifically urban noise, to a political level: perhaps this fall’s race for mayor and council might be a good time to "make a noise" about noise?

—By M. Cox


Noise at election time

No action despite known detrimental effects
A growing number of media reports inform us of the numerous adverse effects all kinds of noise can have on the health of humans, animals and other living things in the environment. Yet, we still have no comprehensive legislation in place to truly protect the soundscape, the acoustic aspect of the environment. With what very limited means we have available, we could merely achieve some local regulation, dealing only with parts of the problem.

I recently wrote letters to a number of environmental protection organisations (a repeat of an effort 10 years ago) and to the Canadian Medical Associations. The aim is to get them to understand the importance of noise control and, possibly, to support our efforts by implementing a noise policy and generating better public awareness.

 

 

 

Make the politicians notice
In order to get the message to our politicians, election time should be one great opportunity. In Canada we have a federal election on Oct. 14. In British Columbia we have municipal elections on Nov. 15 and a provincial election in May 2009.

I ask and, indeed, urge anyone with a serious interest in the prevention and reduction of noise, to attend candidates’ meetings and ask what they would do to curb noise of all kinds and introduce corresponding legislation for meaningful noise control. Write your representative(s) at the provincial and federal level to introduce a comprehensive educational programme and its mandatory use in all schools, for instance.

And please, don’t forget to also inform us of what you do. Thank you all for your effort.

—Hans Schmid

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