Council discusses stricter noise bylaw

Calgary city council discussed the volume and locations of city festivals during their Sept. 16 meeting, the last before the coming municipal election.

The topic, first introduced by Ward 7 alderman Druh Farrell, drew a great deal of discussion from her fellow council members, including Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“I’ve certainly noticed that there have been some very loud events at the Fort Calgary site in particular,” Nenshi said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Crescent Heights, up the hill, and it’s like being at the concert. You can hear every lyric.”

“…It’s like being at the concert. You can hear every lyric.”

– Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Farrell said that council needs to “get this one right,” as it has been seriously affecting Calgarians in her ward, as well as in the wards of other council members.

“A lot of people who live in the East Village don’t have a lot of mobility,” Farrell said. “They spend a tremendous amount of time in their apartments and have been on the verge of tears because of the relaxation of the noise bylaw, the length of the concerts, the noise of the concerts, to the point where some of them have been heard up in Bridgeland.”

After council discussed whether or not Calgary’s current noise bylaw is being relaxed during certain festivals, or whether or not the bylaw is too lenient when it comes to the allowance of the decibel level, Ward 9 alderman, Gian-Carlo Carra, said he feels the city should look into ways of limiting certain types of sound coming from the events.

Carra, who represents Bridgeland as part of Ward 9 said, “With some festivals, it’s like right there in your ear, and with others it’s not.”

Canadian band, Mother Mother, perform at Fort Calgary at X-Fest, one of the events possibly affected by city councils plan to examine Calgary’s current noise bylaw.

Photo by Justin WilsonThe alderman questioned whether the incidents of noise complaints are a decibel issue or whether the increased volume could be remedied by other means. He pointed to how the incidents of complaints the city receives seem to be event specific.

Currently, part nine of city bylaw number 5M2004 regulates that no outdoor speaker system is to be used within 150 metres of a residential development between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Within that same timeframe, no continuous sound exceeding 50 decibels is permitted in residential developments for more than one hour. Non-continuous sound is limited to 75 decibels and is not to last longer than 15 minutes.

Nenshi, referencing the upcoming election and the possibility of a different council after Oct. 21, recommended the issue be considered a notice of motion for the next council.

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