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Local businesses share concerns about noise bylaw amendments

UPDATE: Council has put noise bylaw amendments on hold to allow for more public consultation.

Council is expected to hear opinions tonight from two local businesses with concerns about problems arising from proposed amendments to the County’s noise bylaw.

A new 11 p.m. limit is suggested for any outdoor event not taking place completely within a building that has no open sides. Andy Harrison, Chief Building/Bylaw Officer noted in his report that there has been a steady increase in the number of outdoor concerts and events with amplified music and sound. When held in a zone other than residential, the current bylaw allows unrestricted noise until 2 a.m.

“We assume you have no intent to hurt us and that nothing in the proposed changes will affect us, but we do truly wish that you take care to avoid the unintentional as the impact could be highly detrimental not just to us, but to our sector and the County’s economy in general,” said Mark Henry, of Fields on West Lake, in his deputation to council.

Henry also documents how the extensively renovated 12-year-old circa 1860s barn built by co-owner Lynne Ellis’s ancestors has contributed more than $2 million over the past three years back into the local economy.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the County is regarded as the perfect place for a destination wedding fortuitously located between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa,” said Henry in his deputation. “From our perspective it is one of the most important competitive advantages the County has. But if we are required to close down at 11 p.m. or even midnight, we know we will lose this business and the County will lose business and employment options too.”

Henry said he and Ellis met with sound remediation acoustic engineers to prepare a $14,000 study in 2009 that demonstrates sounds emitted from the hall were negligible at the property lines.

“They noted road traffic was far noisier and that according to MOE standards we were operating well within acceptable paramaters.”

Since that study they have also spent $15,000 to double clad the walls to the south and west to further manage sound.

“We are largely a wedding venue. It is our principle focus. We are good enough at it to have been featured twice nationally in Today’s Bride magazine. The bar closes at 12:30 a.m. and the house lights come on at 1 a.m. so we can be silent by 2 a.m.”

Shawn Thomas Creamer, of the Hayloft Dancehall, also plans to address council to officially oppose the proposed amendments.

“My wife, business partner and I invested our life’s savings in a business in PEC because we felt it was a community encouraging small business to help realize its plan to have the County become a destination… After all that heavy lifting and investing, this bylaw feels like a slap in the face, and unwelcoming,” he said in his deputation to council.

He also questions how the bylaw will be enforced, and at what cost and if consideration has been given to the many industries that will be directly, or indirectly hurt by the bylaw.

“We provide a safe shuttle service to and from five County locations. We have five doormen on at night to help keep everyone safe. If we are asked to close our doors at 12a.m. where will the young people, who let’s face it, like to stay up later than perhaps an elderly member of our community, take their party to? Houses, fields, places where they are no monitored nor protected? How will they get to and from these places?”

He also notes work to minimize sound complants, including the construction of a sound resisting wall behind their stage.

“Our head sound man has a DBA metre and walks to the property line periodically to make sure that we fall under the 60db limit we are charged with adhering to. This is reasonable… The proposed bylaw is not, by a stretch.”

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Chuck says:

    Hear you Fred. All about developing a tourist locale. Councilor Neiman was right to try to restrict use of County vehicles.

  2. Fred says:

    Two thirds of Council seemed more interested in allowing County employees to drive County owned vehicles home outside the County. Even referred to as a necessary hiring perk!Councilor Nyman’s attempts to prevent this was defeated 10-5. Free transportation to and from work with a good wage and benefits is pretty nice. How many get to enjoy that on the taxpayers dime?

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    For such a by-law to be even proposed, shouldn’t council advise the community about the specifics of why they think it is needed? I would be interested in knowing EXACTLY how many noise complaints have been filed and exactly the nature of them. On one hand you want home owners protected from unfair noise intrusions, but if a business is being challenged, then one would hope that such concerns were dealt with prior to any approvals being given by council. If this didn’t happen, then who is responsible – the home owner? the business person? or council? Despite there being 16 of them, they still get it wrong sometimes. Makes one wonder why some of them do go, rather than another staff member??

  4. Susan says:

    So many big issues to tackle like our McFarland Home for one, and they feel a need to tinker with bylaws and further regulate the residents. This is not required.

  5. wevil says:

    appears like more nimbyism at work with the new noise bylaw it is going to hurt

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