Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Winter 2009 - page 2

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Distress Call from New Zealand

...Continued from page 1

Once we understand that, we now have to think about how to change this behaviour from negative to positive or, at least, to stop the negative. That means that the noise victims are saddled with the burden of having to make the tremendous effort to go beyond the limit of simply "counter-reacting" instinctually and fight the fire with fire or something even stronger. This causes stress, and this stress makes sick, those of us who are unable to carry out the required thinking, to do the above mentioned analysis and work out a plan to successfully meet the challenge.

This is where the victim needs help. I suggest to you the following:

  • First of all try as best as possible to "ignore" the noise, and investigate if there are others around you equally or similarly affected by the noise. (Speak with your neighbours in a diplomatic, polite way; draft a short note and deliver it to neighbours, asking them to possibly respond to you; etc.).

  • If you find at least one or a few "kindred spirits", meet with them and get them involved in a combined effort. Keep a log/record of what is happening (write down date, time and a brief description of what noise occurs; ask your "allies" to do the same and make sure you don't contradict each other).

  • If possible, try to contact the perpetrator(s), bring the fact to their attention that their noise is very disturbing and ask them kindly to stop doing it. If they are reasonable people, they will make an effort to avoid causing more trouble. If they are the "undesirable" category of people who will not come to their senses, but continue to bother, then you need to research the legal provisions you may have in place (noise bylaws or ordinances, or other applicable laws and regulations). If you have those in place, make the perpetrators aware of them and let them know that they will be prosecuted if they fail to abide by the law(s).

  • If the problem persists, then you need to alert the corresponding authorities and ask them to properly deal with the matter. If they fail to act properly, tell them in no uncertain terms. If they continue dragging their feet, try to expose the matter to the public, possibly through the media (letter to the editor of your local newspaper, interview with your local radio station etc.). Quite often authorities act when they feel they might get a bad reputation.

  • If this all fails, your last recourse is to sue perpetrators and authorities, likely in civil court. This would require the involvement of a lawyer and could be costly, without a guarantee of winning. However, if you have the support of at least a few other determined people and can easily prove that there is a blatant case of violations of the law(s) and a clear failure of the relevant authorities to act on your behalf to uphold/enforce the law(s), you would have a very good chance to win, and possibly get paid for damages, suffering, and the court costs.

For more information, please look at what we have posted on our website; especially flip through the pages of our newsletters.

I'll leave it at that for today. Please keep us informed of your endeavour and don't hesitate to ask questions. We may not be able to provide all the answers, but will try our best. Good luck and regards,

—Hans Schmid, Right to Quiet Society

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Message to campaigning politicians

In October we had a federal election, and in November a municipal election here. One of our members wrote the following message to several candidates and radio programmes:

Dear All Candidates, especially Ms. Carr,

As a member of "The Right To Quiet Society," I want to tell you that our organisation is contacted, as a last resort, by citizens at their "wits end" over numerous noise pollution issues that are affecting their quality of life. Although Vancouver, along with many other cities in Canada and the world, have noise bylaws, little enforcement is ever achieved. Our Charter Of Rights claims that Canadians have a right to peace and quiet. Where does it say that people have a right to make noise pollution?

Our newsletter contains numerous media reports that inform those who will listen, that noise pollution is having an adverse effect on the health of humans, animals, and other living things in the environment. There is a lack of comprehensive legislation to protect the soundscape, the acoustic aspect of our environment.

Many elected officials, federally and locally, are ill-informed or indifferent to this issue of a pollution that has become a serious health problem to the planet. I am very disappointed that the Green Party has no solutions to

address this serious pollution problem, and I would have to question why this isn't on their platform. Some examples of news media reports to consider are:

  • "How Man-Made Noise May Be Altering Earth's Ecology", by Clive Thompson — Wired Magazine
  • "Urban life is stressing out our songbirds", by Amelia Hill — The Observer
  • "TV Noise at playtime hurts childhood development", by Shannon Proudfoot — Canwest News
  • "Men down more suds when the music is loud", byTom Spears — Canwest News

These are examples of the concerns found in our daily media, coming out of our cities, on this issue.

My questions to all candidates in Vancouver Centre are:

  • "Do you believe that noise pollution is a serious problem?

  • What does your party plan to do, to understand and address this serious pollution problem which, as of yet, remains unaddressed by any party, federally and provincially?”

— Danny Kostyshin

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