Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
Lansdowne Park could rock until 1 a.m. on weekends if the city approves recommended changes to the noise bylaw for events.
The city has been studying several elements of its noise bylaw since 2015 and it’s getting closer to making suggestions to council.
One of the proposals involves noise created during special events, and specifically the activities at Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Tire Centre. An online public consultation is ongoing.
Both properties do a good job of managing noise issues, the city says. When noise happens, it’s usually after an event when people are going somewhere else.
To make sure there are bylaw resources to crack down on noise in residential neighbourhoods, the city wants to push the noise exemption to 1 a.m. for events at Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday and Saturday, and also on Monday if it’s a statutory holiday. On other days, the noise cutoff would stay at 11 p.m.
The proposal “recognizes the cultural and economic benefits of special events programming,” the city says.
Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, who represents the Glebe and Old Ottawa South, wasn’t available for comment Tuesday.
The city has studied other nuisance noises in Ottawa, too.
The city wants to crack down on privately hired snow plow operators making a racket while people are sleeping.
Under the city’s proposal, powered snow-clearing devices wouldn’t be allowed on residential properties between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless five centimetres of snow have fallen over 24 hours.
Snow clearing has been exempt under the noise bylaw, but the city says more property owners are hiring snow-clearing services, which often work overnight after a significant snowfall.
There must be a balance between clearing snow and providing people with a good sleep, the city says.
The recommended plan would mean a decrease in complaints generated by overnight snow operations, according to the city.
The city looked into noise complaints generated by wind chimes and decided there haven’t been enough gripes to justify a municipal wind chime ban.
Staff looked into wind chimes after receiving suggestions from councillors in 2015.
But the statistics show there have only been 15 noise complaints between 2012 and 2016 related to wind chimes.
The city could have suggested overnight bans or restrictions during strong winds, but staff recommend against writing new rules.
Not many noise complaints come into city hall about trash pickup, but the ones that do largely relate to private collection.
So, the city wants to enforce private collection companies making noise in the early hours by making it easier to fine the company, rather than going through an arduous process to identify the equipment operators.
City trash collection would be exempt from noise rules.
Bylaw officers could write tickets for people generating excessive bass, such as through stereos.
It would be too expensive for the city to buy specialized sound meters, so the city wants to give bylaw officers the discretion to lay charges in noise investigations related to low frequencies and vibrations.
All the officer would need to do is gather a witness statement and make an assessment of the level of disturbance.
The city has received between 200 and 300 complaints about car alarms in each of the previous five years, but staff don’t see a need for stronger noise rules.
In Ottawa, a car alarm can sound for 20 minutes before a bylaw offence occurs.
The city considered decreasing the time limit to five minutes, which is the threshold in Toronto.
However, the City of Ottawa believes the problem will disappear as car alarm technology advances.
The city gave thought to the noise coming from motorcycles parked in people’s driveways, since staff record an average of 30 complaints annually.
Police enforce the roads, but it’s the bylaw department’s job to enforce noise coming from private properties.
The city doesn’t want to change the rules, but it wants the province to increase the fine for “causing unnecessary vehicle noise and having an ineffective muffler” to $400 from $305.
Construction-related noise complaints are up, especially in the central areas, as the city goes through an unprecedented amount of building.
The city plans to ask the construction industry what kind of impact further time restrictions could have on operations.
For now, the city wants to decrease the volume limit during a noise exemption. It would align the bylaw with provincial labour regulations.