A message from The Toronto Noise Coalition.
Our objectives have been supported recently in the June 10 Globe and Mail editorial, “Its Time to Turn Down the Volume”, that raised the concern that Canadian cities are slow to recognize the seriousness of noise as a health issue. The New Yorker also reported on the fact that excessive noise is an issue for all, and points out the New York City Noise Code as a progressive example of how to help.
What City Council adopted
Despite our effort since 2016, Toronto’s new Noise Bylaw, adopted by City Council on April 16 (to come into effect in October 1), fails to meet our needs.
The goal of the new bylaw unfortunately has a “one size fits all” approach. It focuses on making simpler regulations that are easy to enforce. The result is a bylaw and enforcement program that provides even less protection from unwanted sounds, issue that an effective bylaw can help address. Among our concerns are that the new bylaw deleted the General Provision that ensured we can make complaints about unwanted noise, not limited to what the bylaw prohibits and puts the onus on us to make complaints rather than on the noise maker to comply. Councillor Cressy’s motion to add a provision that “Prohibitions to provide that an exemption permit may be required, at the discretion of the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, if it is determined that there is an unreasonable and persistent noise, during otherwise permitted hours” may help offset issues form unwanted amplified sound.
Next City Actions
Municipal Licensing and Standards is to develop an implementation plan that includes finalising the primary response model, updating the policy and standards operating procedures for noise investigations, creating a noise technical manual, and enhancing back-end technology systems. They will also enhance information to the public through 311 and the City website.
They are also to report in the final quarter of 2020 on the implementation, success and any outstanding issues from the changes to the noise by-law including, but not limited to: new measurement standards, the new hierarchy of limitation provisions, impacts to the construction industry, patterns and trends in complaints and resolutions, issues related to amplified sound within residential areas, and impacts to enforcement.
Public Health is to reporting on a City Noise Management Action Plan, which was to be submitted at the same time as the proposed new bylaw.
Next Steps for the Toronto Noise Coalition
We continue to advocate for a better noise bylaw. We make use of opportunities, such as the recent interviews on Metro Morning. Our main focus will be to report at the time of the ML&S staff 2020 review on our view of the effectiveness of the new bylaw and enforcement plan. We will also be updating our 2106 survey.
What you can do to help:
• Use the “Contact Us” tab at TorontoNoiseCoalition.ca to provide your help in the review of the new Noise Bylaw and enforcement program.
• Volunteer to help with contacting residents across the City to ask them to complete our updated survey.
• Provide your examples of noise issues, what was done and what was the resolution, if any.
• Send us your ideas and suggestions to make the TNC more effective.
• Volunteer to be part of the TNC steering group.
You can also help fund our communications budget, any contributions appreciated. Make your cheque out to Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations and mail to 52 Addison Crescent, Don Mills M3B 1K8.