Council hears about Noise Attenuation Pilot Project

Officials say vehicle noise an ongoing issue for communities, including Red Deer

  • Nov. 23, 2016 4:29 p.m.

City council accepted as information a report about the Noise Attenuation Pilot Project at this week’s meeting.

According to council notes, a community awareness campaign was launched spanning the two-year pilot project, which was launched back in December of 2014.

As noted, vehicle noise has been an ongoing issue for communities.

“The issue becomes more prevalent in the spring and summer when more people are outside enjoying their yards, windows are open in homes, weather allows for operation of motorcycles and clear roads facilitate quick starts at intersections.”

The challenge comes from the legislation (or lack thereof) pertaining to vehicular noise.

“The courts are often not aligned, and therefore make the nature and capacity for enforcement of excessive noise prohibitive.”

In the campaign, the City attempted to spread public awareness in the spring and summer to encourage reporting of offenses while reminding residents to be respectful of others, and to also provide tips to help enforcement resources to address chronic noise polluters.

They also hosted decibel reading events during the year to allow people to come and see where their items registered and to learn more about noise attenuation.

“We had four decibel reading events in which there were many people attending for various reasons, and it was usually at the classic car shows,” said Sarah Cockerill, director of community services for the City of Red Deer.

“There was an education component – certainly that was our main goal,” she said, adding that folks with the classic cars aren’t typically the people they were trying to target with the awareness campaign.

“We really focused on the ‘be a good neighbour’ type of messaging. As we spoke to residents, particularly around Spruce Dr. and 32nd Street, it’s the people going by at those fast speeds. So it was really about understanding what you are doing to your neighbourhood and to your neighbours when using your vehicles that register that loudly.”

Specifically on 32nd St. between 40th Ave. and Spruce Drive there have been significant numbers of complaints received from residents. Council notes show that enforcement officers visited the location to do laser radar and enforcement of other violations such as ‘stunting’ under the Traffic Safety Act, but heavy traffic along the route and the design of the intersection itself made the work challenging.

Meanwhile, Cockerill added that several motorcycles were also tested at the decibel readings.

“I’d say they were about one-quarter of all of our decibel reading events. They represent approximately one-third of those registering over (the appropriate decibel range).”

Meanwhile, at the decibel reading events, some people participated, some people chose not to, and altogether about 200 vehicles were tested with about 40 being over the 96 decibel range. According to gcaudio.com, that’s the limit where sustained exposure may result in hearing loss.

The report concluded that, “While the City’s advocacy has been successful to date in having the AUMA resolution passed this fall, there is still no legislation or best practices that would provide the municipality the means to ticket excessive noise in vehicles.”

Officials say the City is waiting to see how the AUMA will take that particular resolution forward and how the province in general would respond specifically to the issue.

Future plans or next steps in continuing work in the Noise Attenuation project will be submitted for consideration during the 2017 operation budget.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com

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