On December 8, 2016 an introductory meeting was held to introduce members, review the history of the previous work on the Noise Bylaw and to present the Working Group Terms of Reference and meeting schedule for 2017.
The Working Group will be chaired by Intiaz Ruffudeen – Manager, Policy & Planning (ML&S) and City of Toronto staff from a number of City departments will provide information to the Working Group from:
Hamish Goodwin – Senior Policy & Research Officers ML&S
Carleton Grant – Director, Policy & Strategic Support ML&S
Mark Sraga – Director, Investigation Services, ML&S
Kelly Drew - Health Policy Specialist,Toronto Public Health
Mike Tanner - Music Development Officer for City of Toronto (Note the City’s Economic Development Committee of Council created this new position And its appointee is the former NXNE organizer).You can read more about him HERE or here in this Toronto Sun Article.
Staff from Toronto Transportation Services and the City’s Engineering and Construction unit were also in attendance.
The Working group will have representation across a number of Industry Sectors who attended the first meeting. These included representation from the construction industry, and construction unions. As expected, the music industry was well represented by The Music Advocacy Committee and the Toronto Music Industry Association and two acoustic consultants. Metrolinx and Public Health Ontario, Environmental & Occupational Health representation also attended.
The Residents’ point of view were represented by the following association representatives:
Toronto Noise Coalition (TNC) Ian Carmichael, Liz Sauter
Federation of North Toronto Resident’s Associations (FONTRA) – Cathie MacDonald and Howard Smith
Greater Yorkville Resident’s Association (GYRA) – Michael Landry, Bill Etherington
Toronto Island Residents’ Association – Lynn Robinson
York Quay Neighbourhood Association (YQNA ) – Ulla Colgrass
Intiaz Ruffudeen, Working Group Chair indicated if there were others interested in attending the meetings, they should contact him.
This first meeting began with a presentation by Mark Sraga, ML&S Director of Investigation Services. He reviewed the history of the Bylaw revisions to date and acknowledged ML&S staff had heard “loud and clear” they needed to be changed. They have had over 30 different policy reviews. Every provision in the bylaw is up for amendment and conversation. They also looked at other jurisdictions and said Vancouver and NYC were the two best examples for us to use as a base. We were pleased to hear that ML&S staff had decided NOT to use Austin as it is not like Toronto in makeup. The voice of Toronto Noise Coalition members were heard on this point.
ML&S staff have used an acoustic professional consultant firm to review the amendments and will be engaging them when the final report is ready. However the TNC will stress that unbiased acoustic expertise is needed during the entire development of the bylaw. This will ensure that an expert is there to correct and validate technical information rather than hear assumptions or assertions by the various stakeholders who have strong but not necessarily correct information.
The plan is to have the amended bylaw to take forward by year end 2017 so it can go in to effect by 2018. They will wait for the input from the Toronto Public Health impact study whose report is due June 2017. The City also plans to conduct public consultation on the work done by this group after all input is received so there will be an opportunity for the general public to comment.
During a very general discussion, some preliminary comments by members included:
construction industry’s concerns about time limits of “pouring concrete”,
music industry wanting more flexibility,
Residents’ concerns reiterated many of the points elaborated in the TNC 7 Point Position Paper including requirements to
place health front and centre
have noise considered a “pollutant”,
reinstate the general noise provision to ensure protection
require stronger regulation of noise from leaf blowers, motorcycles, construction and amplified noise
need for much stronger enforcement with increased rigour proposed for both dB(A) and dB(C) limits and increasing fines and penalties for those who do not comply.
There was preliminary discussion about point of reception of noise measured at resident’s location versus at the property line and suggestions of considering ambient sound in measurements. Needless to say these will require more investigation, research and much debate.
The Working Group will be meeting once a month until June. It is the intention that some meetings will be spent discussing specific noise categories (Construction, amplified sound, leaf blowers etc.) to get in to specific details while others will discuss general issues.
Questions or Comments? CONTACT THE TNC