MH passes new noise bylaw 0
Minden Hills councillors passed new noise bylaw that cracks down on fireworks during their Sept. 26 meeting. CHAD INGRAM/MINDEN TIMES/QMI AGENCY
Minden Hills councillors passed an updated noise bylaw for the township Thursday, most of the provisions of which will be in effect 24 hours a day.
The bylaw contains 12 general prohibitions, including but not limited to operating a vehicle in a way that make the tires squeal, operating construction equipment without a muffler, persistent noise from pets, loud music and “permitting unusual, excessive, unwanted, disturbing noise by shouting, yelling or amplified sound.”
Exemptions include, among others, the operation of emergency vehicles, municipal service vehicles and equipment, midways and circuses approved by the township, the operation of bells and chimes in churches and public buildings, public recreational and cultural events and agricultural activities on agricultural properties.
The setting off of fireworks in Minden Hills will be prohibited outside of Victoria Day, Labour Day, New Year's Eve between dusk and 1 a.m. and Canada Day and its preceding and following weekends.
“I still believe there needs to be a time parameter put on this bylaw,” said Councillor Lisa Schell. “I do not see how this is an enforceable bylaw.”
The township's previous noise bylaw outlawed excessive noise between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“I totally agree with Councillor Schell,” said Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch, implying that the new bylaw was too restrictive. “It's really critical to let people get on with their lives.”
Bylaw officer Colin McKnight said the township does receive complaints of excessive noise during the day.
“We do have a lot of people who want to come and crank the tunes . . . disturbing other people,” McKnight said.
Reeve Barb Reid reiterated the bylaw was to deal with excessive noise only and asked McKnight what would happen with frivolous noise complaints.
McKnight said that complainants – the new bylaw uses complaint forms – would be required not just to file a complaint, but to provide some evidence that the noise was egregious in order for complaints to be considered legitimate.
“Staff is going to be trying to enforce a common sense approach,” he said. “We're not anticipating people running out when we get a phone call.”
McKnight said the township does not have the personnel to police the bylaw 24/seven and chief administrative officer Nancy Wright-Laking said employees do not work nights and that if council wanted nighttime enforcement, it would require the hiring of additional staff.
Wright-Laking said if councillors wanted to add specific time parameters it was her recommendation the matter be referred back to staff.
Councillor Brigitte Gall said she'd received phone calls and emails about the bylaw and thought the township should be providing education for residents on the bylaw and what constitutes excessive noise.
The bylaw was carried.
Fines for violation are $500.