The City is constantly changing and growing. Condominium construction and the residential population in the central core is expanding rapidly. Companies are returning to this area, triggering new commercial development as well.
Across the city, road repair and transit development are necessary. In general, this kind of development is positive for our future, but with it comes noise from construction.
In 2013, Toronto officially declared its intention to become a world-leading music city and formed a Music City Alliance with the City of Austin, Texas. This initiative has increased the demand for amplified music in parks and other public spaces. Some voices in the City have expanded this discussion to include “the nighttime economy” and the vision of a 24-hour city BUT we need to ensure Toronto is also a healthy environment!
Noise complaints increasing:
Complaints to ML&S have increased 312% since 2009.
Construction noise complaints during prohibited times have increased 643% (non-residential) and 751% (residential) since 2009.
Complaints about loud music in bars and clubs have increased 170% since 2009 with certain wards in the downtown core showing much higher increases. Ward 14 (275%), Ward 18 (291%), Ward 19 (288%), Ward 27 (367%), Ward 28 (967%), Ward 30 (850%).
“Noise is more than a just a nuisance since it constitutes a real and present danger to people’s health. Day and night, at work and play, noise can produce serious physical and psychological stress. No one is immune to this stress. People appear to adjust to noise by ignoring it but the ear, in fact, never closes. The body still responds with extreme tension, such as to a strange sound in the night.”
Health & Welfare Canada, 1989
TNC Poll finds noise control is NOT just a Downtown Issue but important to ALL Toronto Neighbourhoods.
The findings of the City survey noted above were confirmed in a recent poll done by TNC and conducted by Public Square Research of 600 people (300 from downtown and 300 from the surrounding suburbs from Scarborough to Rexdale). A majority of Torontonians (72%) are interested in the issue of noise control with less than half of respondents (48%) stating that Toronto is a quiet city, reinforcing the importance of developing the right solution.
The results showed overwhelming support for greater protection from noise, the importance of respecting current noise protections, four in ten saying the city is not doing enough when it comes to noise and two-thirds of those who registered noise complaints to the City were not satisfied with the City’s response.
The City and stakeholders must listen to each other and find solutions.
Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience.
Both are outcomes from how the City decides it wishes to operate; as a place to live, as a place to work, as a place to play and be entertained, and as a place that attracts visitors from around the world.
How we manage noise is not merely about noise, it is about how we want to live.
“A type of noise worthy of further consideration is low frequency noise. Low frequency noise is common as background noise in urban environments and as emission from many artificial sources; aircraft; industrial machinery; air movements including wind turbines, compressors, and indoor ventilation and air conditioning units. Low frequency noise is of particular concern because of its pervasiveness due to numerous sources and the reduced efficacy of structures including dwellings.”
Health Effects of Noise
Dr. Sheela Basrur
Unreasonable noise must be considered a health hazard!
Our growing group of concerned citizens and businesses, first and foremost, insist that any proposed noise bylaw must be a product of research and professional acoustic expertise. It must be a comprehensive Noise Management Strategy including a well- funded enforcement plan. It must reach international standards for health protections and noise control. It must address the concerns of residents across the city; concerns about the need to better manage noise from construction activities, amplified sound, motorcycles, and leaf-blowers, amongst many other important details.
As a starting point for discussion, The Toronto Noise Coalition has prepared
a 7 Point Proposal that any new or revised bylaw must address.