Noise Bylaw Review
Local resident Gerry Ronan has captured this noise dilemma in one of his recent poems which appears in his recently published poetry book entitled ‘The Glimmer Man’.
Five males, two females, youngish, seated around the
restaurant table, heads lowered, listening intently
to community activist, speaking animatedly-instilling hope.
Goal of the enthused community group-to banish loud,
incessant noise from the public realm. They were meeting
on the cafe Pheasant patio-located close to Avenue Road- St. Germaine
Avenue-favoured outdoor spot-hidden away- sleepy north Toronto.
The quietness, the stillness, exquisite form of bliss privately shared.
Listen closely, muffled sounds of random traffic could be heard-
though never too much- motorists acutely aware Upper Avenue
dedicated to upholding highest possible degree of silence-
unique symbol of Toronto’s acclaimed world –wide status as a
dedicated quietness haven, a trailblazer city-virtually beyond compare.
Quietness movement founded in Paris, city of romance, of love.
Toronto quickly embraced the cause-for Canada, prized hinterland,
epitomized everything that was grand, magnificent, in Nature’s span.
Harsh critics abounded, alleging infatuation with quietness latter-day
re-birth of Luddism-a primitive rejection of technology, progress.
Harsh battle of words, cacophony of sound, charge, counter charge,
quietness in free flight. Never despair-re-group, renew the struggle.
By Gerry Ronan
Public Consultations January 28 to February 6, 2019
MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD !
Attend at least one of these five meetings
Send your comments and concerns to the City by February 28th.
Email: [email protected]
Social Media: #CityofTO
Copy the Toronto Noise Coalition Email: [email protected]
and your City Councillor ([email protected])
The city of Toronto is reviewing the Noise Bylaw to recommend much needed updates. The Toronto Noise Coalition and its members from across the city are advocating for enhancing the noise standards to protect Toronto residents from unreasonable noise. These five public consultations have been organized by the city to get your feedback.
Your comments and concerns will be used to recommend updates to the Noise Bylaw in a report going to Council in the spring of 2019.
Power Equipment- Monday January 28, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m.
North York Civic Centre Member’s Lounge
Motor Vehicles – Tuesday January 29, 2019, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Metro Hall, Room 310
Amplified Sound – Wednesday January 30, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m.
Scadding Court Community Centre
Construction Noise – Tuesday February 5, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m.
Centre for Social Innovation Regent Park Lounge
General Prohibition – Wednesday February 6, 2019, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Important points for your comments to City Hall:
ADVOCATE FOR A NEW NOISE BYLAW
Toronto must respond to today’s and tomorrow’s needs with a new Noise Bylaw that reflects the City’s changing landscape and advances in acoustic technology and meets international best practices and is not based on tinkering with out of date rules.
The Toronto Noise Bylaw must preserve Torontonian’s quality of life and health.
WE NEED EFFECTIVE REGULATIONS
- Provide an overriding General Prohibitionfor 24/7 protection.
- Limit base noise to protect healthby setting World Health Organization limits AND provide specific hours for locations where noisy activities are regulated.
- Ensure regulations are easy to understand and enforce by including decibel limits for measuring noise at its source, specify sound restrictions for loudspeakers, specifying how to measure noise levels for mechanical equipment.
WE NEED EFFECTIVE NOISE MITIGATION
- Ensure noise mitigation plans for city-wide construction and amplified noise exemptions are approved before permits are granted.
- Provide specific standards that must be in place for these plans.
- Provide industry support and resources to assist emitters in mitigating noise at source.
- Require that applicants monitor their sound emissions levels and demonstrate that their levels are compliant.
- Require posting of noise mitigation plans on location.
WE NEED EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT
- Increase the number of Noise Bylaw Enforcement Officers to meet demand for timely responses to noise complaints.
- Provide Enforcement Officers with the authority to issue summons, tickets and notices
- Increase fine levels and provide escalating fines for repeat offenders.
WE NEED EFFECTIVE EXEMPTION POLICIES
- Strictly limit and regulate exemptions so as to not undermine the Noise Bylaw.
- Require Noise Mitigation Plans be submitted with exemption applications.
- Issue series approvals only to applicants with an established record of good compliance.
- Notify the proximate public, including residents, BIAs, Residents Associations, and the local Councillor of applications well in advance to allow for review, recommendations and objections before a permit is issued.
An effective Noise Bylaw HELPS noisemakers be responsible and accountable for obeying the law.
For further information:
Toronto Noise Coalition website http://www.torontonoisecoalition.ca/
Update – March 28, 2018
After many discussions (initiated in 2015) and some delays, the Licensing and Standards Committee presented a summary of the work accomplished to date and next steps for the review of Municipal Code, Chapter 591, Noise, which sets out specific standards for noise in the City of Toronto.
Details are provided in the attached report but the end result is that Licensing and Standards were directed to complete additional research and consultation for the review of Chapter 591, Noise and report back by the third quarter of 2019 with recommended changes to the bylaw.
Update – June 6, 2016
On May 2, 2016 we reported that SAHRA supports the efforts of FoNTRA, CORRA, Residents’ Associations and residents across the City who are concerned about Toronto’s proposed Noise Bylaw. SAHRA submittd a letter of concern to the Mayor, our Councillor, the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee and the Medical Officer of Health. We also encouraged our Members to take Action. We need to work together for a strong noise bylaw to protect our peace and quiet.
Amendments to the Noise By-law were considered by the Licensing and Standards Committee on May 19, 2016 with the intention that it would go to City Council for approval on June 7, 2016.
We are pleased to report (with the assistance of Councillor Josh Matlow) that the item was Deferred to allow time for further review by City officials, the Toronto Noise Coalition, Residents’ Associations, entertainment and construction associations, BIA’s and other relevant stakeholders with reporting back to the Licensing and Standards Committee on Sept 21, 2016.
Update – May 19, 2016 LSC Hearing
It is absolutely crucial that the residents write Councillor Carmichael Greb, Mayor Tory, the ML&S Committee and Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medial Office of Health to improve the revisions and attend the ML&S committee hearing on May 19th at City Hall to express their concerns.
The construction and music industries have been very effective pressing ML&S to relax noise regulations and enforcement. Furthermore there is pressure to push the revisions through prematurely to enable the City’s music strategy. Toronto Public Health has “begun the review of the most current evidence of the impacts of noise on health” which will be released after the noise by-law will have been enacted when it will be too late. We need to point this out to Torontonians.
Here are the statistics analysed from Municipal Licencing & Standards, Staff Report LS9.1 January 11, 2016:
|Year||Noise Complaints||% Increase since 2011|
Please forward an email to the officials stating your views.
From: Sahra Toronto [mailto:info@sahratoronto] Sent: Monday, May 02, 2016 4:47 PM Subject: SAHRA Information – May 2, 2016
SAHRA supports the efforts of FoNTRA, CORRA, Residents’ Associations and residents across the City who are concerned about Toronto’s proposed Noise Bylaw. SAHRA will submit a letter of concern to the Mayor, our Councillor, the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee and the Medical Officer of Health. We also encourage our Members to take Action. We need to work together for a strong noise bylaw to protect our peace and quiet.
NOISE ALERT – HELP IMPROVE TORONTO’S NOISE BYLAW!
The threat to a strong noise bylaw that protects the health of residents continues.
Toronto’s Noise bylaw needs to address your concerns. 82.5% of respondents to the City’s April 2015 noise consultation indicated noise problems in their Ward. The most common noise impacts, in addition to general disturbance, were sleep loss/insomnia and stress.
The current proposal should be unacceptable to every Toronto resident. It removes daytime protection for all types of noise (the General Provision that provides a right to peace and quiet) and has unenforceable requirements for amplified sound, day and night (decibel measurements by bylaw officers).
This issue will be brought forward at a May 19th Hearing at City Hall. The commercial music and construction industries have been meeting privately with Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) for a number of months, with the support of the City’s Economic and Development Staff. Their voices are being heard. It is expected that commercial music and construction industries will be at the May 19th meeting to put their interests forward.
Below is information prepared by a working group within FoNTRA (Federation of North Toronto Ratepayers Associations) which outlines the problems with the current revision as well as “A 7-Point Plan” for an effective bylaw.
We must make our voices heard too, loud and clear. We need your views to be made known to the Mayor, our Councillor, Municipal Licensing Standards and the Toronto Medical Officer of Health.
TAKE ACTION NOW
- Email Mayor Tory– urge him to emulate New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg and enact a comprehensive noise by-law protecting Torontonians’ quality of life [email protected]
- Email your City Councillor– tell them about your noise concerns and advocate for the 7-Point Solution [email protected]
- Email the ML&S Committee members– advocate for a comprehensive and effective noise bylaw; also forward copies to the Councillors who are on this Committee. [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
- Email Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health– ask him to help regulate harmful noise Dr. David McKeown [email protected]
Attend the May 19 Hearing at City Hall and voice your opinion. Toronto’s noise bylaw must reflect the City’s changing landscape and advances in acoustic technology. New York City’s Noise Code shows it is possible and necessary to support the 24/7 business and entertainment life of a truly great city while enacting and enforcing effective noise regulations to reduce unwanted and harmful sound. Toronto needs to follow New York City’s example.
City Hall’s proposed noise by-law revisions ignore Torontonians’ concerns. Judging from City Staff’s January recommendations they have:
• Removed existing noise bylaw safeguards
• Weakened noise protection provisions, and
• Weakened protection of Torontonians’ health and quality of life.
Problems if the Noise bylaw is not improved:
- Insufficient enforcement staff who are unavailable after normal business hours
• A lost opportunity to control the City’s growing construction noise
• Loud amplified music from bars and large concerts booming into homes and city parks
• Loss of protection from many noise sources between 7 AM and 11 PM
• Noisy motorcycles thundering unrestricted through city streets
• Leaf blowers blasting away calm and tranquility of residential neighbourhoods at any time of day
• 24/7 HVAC equipment noise and vibration disturbances from supermarkets, condos and offices
Why is the City not listening to Toronto Public Health’s August 28, 2015 memo stating:
“While noise has typically been controlled to address quality of life issues and noise-induced hearing loss, there is evidence that exposure to noise also has impacts on health at levels be-low which impacts on hearing acuity occur. These adverse health effects could occur at levels below 50 dBA.
A quality outdoor environment can support more active living (more walking or cycling, or active recreation). Limiting average outdoor noise levels to below 55 dBA (daytime) is therefore desirable for health.
Keeping levels of noise below the provincial Environmental Noise Guideline (NPC-300) is desirable as sleep disturbance has been shown to occur at levels as low as 32 dBA”.
A 7-POINT PLAN
- Declaration of Policy Like New York City, clearly state the Noise By-law’s purpose is protecting Torontonians’ health and quality of life.
- General Provision Retain the General Provision for 24/7 protection from vibrations and sound of such a volume or nature that it is likely to disturb City inhabitants.
- Amplified Sound Replace, improve and enforce the specific prohibition of amplified noise projected beyond a property line onto streets or public places including City parks for loud-speakers and other problematic noise sources such as leaf blowers and motorcycles.
- Construction Toronto will be “under construction” for years. Follow New York City’s regulations. Examples: • Require Noise Mitigation Plans for all construction work. • Prohibit construction except for owner-occupied homes on weekends and statutory holidays from May to October.
- Mechanical Equipment Include standards and regulate disruptive noise from HVAC equipment and compressors.
- Exceptions Must be considered a privilege not a right and restrict hours and amplified sound levels.
- Offer “Series approvals” only to applicants with good records with an upper limit of three at a time.
• Require Noise Mitigation Plans for all exceptions.
• Limit the number of permits approved in any park each year.
• Set an end time of 10 pm for events in neighbourhood parks.
- Enforcement City Council must increase investment for effective and timely enforcement 24/7 and authorize police and by-law enforcement officers to issue summonses, tickets and notices for Noise By-law violations.
The City of Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards Division has undertaken a review of the City’s Noise Bylaw, which provides standards for noise and applies to all properties in Toronto. The bylaw exists to prevent noise that is likely to disturb residents’ enjoyment and comfort. The goal of the review is to create a noise bylaw that balances the interests of all stakeholders, is up-to-date and easy for residents, property owners and businesses to understand.
Key recommendations include:
• specific time periods when noise is prohibited
• limits for amplified sound
• proactive noise mitigation requirements
• increased fines and penalties
• removal of automatic exemptions for pouring of concrete and large crane work
Staff will present the changes being considered at a consultation session on Wednesday, February 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Toronto City Hall in Committee Room 1. More information about the review and current regulations can be found at http://www.toronto.ca/mlshaveyoursay. Staff will report to the Licensing and Standards Committee on Tuesday, March 8 with recommended bylaw changes.