Mayor John Tory is revving up the fight against noisy nuisances on Toronto streets according to the September 3 Toronto Star article, Tory takes aim at noisy motorcycles on Toronto streets. He has requested that the City’s licensing and standards chief look at excessive noise from cars and motorcycles in the review of Toronto’s noise bylaw. He also states that “Even in a busy city there have to be limits and ways to enforce them,” Tory wrote. “As one resident recently said to me: ‘We don’t want to become the city that never sleeps.’ I agree.” The TNC has been very active in bringing this issue directly to the attention of the Mayor. We applaud him for taking this important initial step and for his clear understanding that loud motorcycles and high performance cars run around the city all day and all night with no relief to the City’s residents other than during the severe winter months.
Toronto Noise Coalition principles for a better noise bylaw for Toronto:
• Ensure the purpose of the bylaw is the protection of the health and quality of life for all.
• Limit base noise to protect health by setting World Health Organization limits and provide specific hours for locations where certain noisy activities are regulated.
• Make regulations easy to understand, use and enforce. The onus must be on the noise makers to comply and newer quieter new technologies must be encouraged.
• Noise mitigation plans for city-wide construction and amplified noise exemptions must be approved before exemption permits are granted.
• Provide specific standards that must be in place for these plan and ensure compliance.
• Post noise mitigation plans on location.
• Increase the number of Noise Bylaw Enforcement Officers to meet demand for timely responses to noise complaints, not just between 9 AM to 5 PM.
• Provide authority to issue summons, tickets and notices for violations of the Noise Bylaw and increased increase fine levels for repeat offenders.
• Coordinate enforcement with other enforcement agencies.
• Evaluate enforcement effectiveness with performance-based measurements.
EFFECTIVE EXEMPTION POLICIES
• Strictly limit and regulate exemptions so as not to 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 in advance to allow for review, recommendations and objections before a permit is issued.
This new bylaw regime must be developed using best practices, such as the New York City’s comprehensive noise management model, as well as through industry and residents representatives working cooperatively to develop relevant regulations and mitigation strategies.