Monday, July 29, 2013

UNA's Noise Bylaw and Landscaping Power Equipment Compliance

Nearly one full year after being approved by the UBC BoG the UNA’s noise bylaw is in the process of being placed into operation. If it is implemented in full accord with the wording of the bylaw then we should anticipate noticing some significant changes in the audio environment over the next few years.  It would seem that most of the landscaping practices in the UNA are not in compliance with the noise bylaw.  Bringing landscaping firms into compliance with the bylaw will create the potential for more environmentally friendly landscaping practices and a more pleasant sonic environment.

The opening lines of clause 9 of the Noise Bylaw reads as follows: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Bylaw the following are declared to be Noises which are objectionable or liable to disturb the Quiet of any person and are hereby prohibited and no person being the owner or occupant of any Premises shall Cause.”  This is followed with a list of prohibited noises.  Under subsection 9(d) power equipment is deemed a prohibited noise “except between 0800 hours to 1800 hours on any week day that is not a Holiday or between the hours of 1000 hours to 1700 hours on any Saturday that is not a Holiday.”  This would seem to allow an exception that would permit power equipment of any noise level as long as its operation is restricted to weekdays 8am to 6pm and Saturdays 10am to 5pm.  However, power equipment does appear to be covered under the provisions of clause 10 that concerns continuous noise.

Clause 10 stipulates that “No person shall Cause Continuous Sound the Sound Level of which: (a) during the Daytime exceeds a rating of 55 on an Approved Sound Meter when received at a Point of Reception; or (b) during the Nighttime exceeds a rating of 45 on an Approved Sound Meter when received at a Point of Reception.” This clause does not prohibit power equipment; it does however limit the sound level of such power equipment.

One might argue that the “notwithstanding” used in the opening of clause 9 renders the restriction of the sound level clause ineffective.  However, it would seem to me that the notwithstanding is in specific reference to what noises are deemed to be prohibited, tout court.  Clause 10 compliments clause 9 by qualifying the extent of disruptive sounds within the common areas of the UNA.  Specifically clause 10 refers to Continuous Sound, “which means any Noise occurring for a duration of more than three minutes, or occurring continually, sporadically or erratically but totaling more than three minutes in any 15 minute period of time.” 

What this means is that we need to ensure that the landscaping contactors are apprised of the noise bylaw and that we develop effective noise mitigation operational rules and procedures so that our contractors can act in compliance with the noise bylaw.  At present power equipment is operated in the UNA areas


Anonymous said...

This noise bylaw had better regulate all the noisy, unsupervised children in the Hawthorn Place neighbourhood.

I think that having thousands of children on a university campus is a terrible idea. It reduces the quality of student life. Once word of this gets out, UBC will no longer attract the cream of the crop.

What kind of parent crams a bunch of children into a small condo, when they could be living out in the suburbs?

Charles Menzies said...

Really? I can only think that the 'anonymous' commentator is making a poor attempt at levity. Can they really be serious? We'll just chalk this up to a slightly offbeat sense of humour poorly executed.