The Honourable Cathy McGregor
Minister of Municipal Affairs
P.O. Box 9490
Station Provincial Government
Victoria, BC V8W 9N7

Dear Minister:

Re: Section 724 of the Municipal Act

The Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection is extremely concerned with the problematic wording of a rather antiquated section of the Municipal Act. The section reads as follows:

As this is the only provincial legislation currently providing the public with any protection from noise other than the Motor Vehicle Act, the public is poorly protected by the current state of anti-noise legislation in the province. In the many years since this section of the Act was written, modern technology has created numerous unforseen ways of polluting the soundscape, including but not limited to leafblowers, pressure washers, jet skis, boom cars, and similar amplified music from home stereos and outdoor concerts.

In addition to the aforementioned inadequacy, this section of the Act requires that an objectionable noise "disturb, or tend to disturb...the neighbourhood". In turn, this requirement is quoted verbatim in numerous municipal bylaws, and is interpreted to mean that two or more persons who are not bylaw or police officers have to independently register complaints before prosecution can proceed. Since these words were originally penned, the nature of many neighbourhoods has changed to the extent that, in numerous cases, such bylaws are now unenforceable. Absolute prohibitions under section (1)(a)(ii) cannot be used to cover every situation which may occur, and are often little used.

Furthermore, it is not necessary to prove that a commercial sign in a residential area or an illegally parked car "disturb the neighbourhood" before enforcement of the relevant bylaws can proceed. Why then should an individual being tormented by noise be further penalized by a legislative technicality?

Your help is hereby requested in updating section 724 of the Act, giving municipalities a more effective tool with which to combat the ever-increasing onslaught of noise in our communities.

Yours Truly,

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