The Toronto Noise Coalition’s Proposal.
The City’s current plan to revise the existing noise bylaw seems to be driven by economic development objectives. And, while we support plans to improve our local economy the Toronto Noise Coalition believes the central tenant of any noise bylaw must be to the protection of the health and quality of life for all Torontonians.
New York City has found the balance. So can Toronto.
“It is hereby declared that the making, creation or maintenance of excessive and reasonable noises within the city affects and is a menace to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and the prosperity of the people of the city.”
City of New York, 2005
Toronto is developing in a fashion closer to New York City than a sprawling suburban city in Texas. In Toronto, areas for living, playing, and working are each thriving communities where all three activities exist in collaboration with each other. In fact, Toronto planning policies encourage mixed use areas, placing residents next to commercial and entertainment uses across the City.
The award winning NYC Noise Code provides a good starting point for discussion. Using that as a model, The Toronto Noise Coalition has prepared a 7 Point Proposal that any new or revised bylaw must address.
The Health of Torontonians
The fabric of this by-law must be woven by this first principle.
Noise management is a public health concern, not an economic one.
Include a General Provision for 24/7 protection from vibrations and sound of such a volume or nature that it is likely to disturb the City’s inhabitants
Replace, improve, and enforce the specific prohibition 591-2.1 for loud- speakers and other problematic noise sources such as leaf blowers and motorcycles projected beyond a property line onto streets or public places particularly City parks.
A comprehensive set of standards that will limit the negative effects of constant construction. It must also encourage companies to adopt innovative technology and noise mitigating measures, such as:
A Noise Mitigation Plan - Contractors must develop a noise mitigation plan prior to the start of work. Every construction site must have a noise mitigation plan on location. If noise complaints are received, an inspector will ensure the contractor has posted the plan and that it is being followed.
Construction Scheduling - Prohibit construction of new homes and other major construction in residential areas on weekends and statutory holidays from May 1st to October 31st. This will allow residents to enjoy outdoor activities without the intrusion of unnecessary noise. Owner occupied work would still be permitted to perform needed work on their own homes as needed.
Toronto’s Noise bylaw must contain a section regulating disruptive noise from HVAC equipment by imposing reasonable standards for this equipment.
Exceptions must be considered a privilege, not a right.
"Series approvals" should only be offered to applicants with a record of good compliance and an upper limit of the number of series approved by one application should be required- i.e. no more than three at a time.
Noise Mitigation Plans must be a requirement for all exceptions applications to the policy.
Limits to the number of permits approved in any park each year must be set.
Events in parks in residential neighbourhoods must end no later than 10 p.m.
Council must commit to increase investment for effective and timely enforcement