‘Quiet nights’ bylaw proposal left hanging at Kincardine

Here from Liz Dadson of the Saugeen Times, an account of the “Quiet Nights” bylaw presentation to Kincardine Council, last week.

Municipality leaves coalition twisting in the windBy Liz Dadson
Kincardine council has left a proposed municipal coalition on noise regulation, twisting in the wind.
Warren Howardmade a presentation to committee- of-the-whole Thursday night (Jan. 9), outlining the possibility of forming a coalition of municipalities, to draw up a noise bylaw to regulate the industrial wind turbine industry.
A member of North Perth council, Howard said he came to Kincardine council on behalf of the coalition committee.
“Kincardine has a noise problem, and it’s going to get more serious if the Armow Wind project is approved,” he said. “Municipal noise bylaws need to be updated to reflect changes in the rural noise environment.”
He said the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) allows audible noise of 40-51 dBA (decibels) for wind projects. However, the ambient rural night-time noise is in the range of 20-25 dBA.
Howard said a community group in the Kincardine area, HALT (Huron-Kinloss Against Lakeshore Turbines),has funded research into legal options for municipalities to regulate noise.
That group also retained and obtained legal advice from an environmental/municipal lawyer, he said. Now, he is approaching municipalities, seeking wider participation for a coalition.
Howard said the planning powers were taken away from the municipalities with the Green Energy Act. But municipalities still have responsibility for the health, safety and well-being of their citizens, control of public nuisances, and regulation of such things as noise, vibration, odour and dust.
The proposed coalition would use a noise bylaw to establish a “Quiet Nights” noise level limit for rural areas of the municipality, said Howard. This would prohibit any “clearly audible” noise in these areas during a defined night-time period.
It would also provide general exemptions for specified farming practices, festivals, etc. And would be enforced by municipal bylaw officers, in the same manner as other noise enforcement.
“This is our recommendation,” said Howard. “A ‘Quiet Nights’ noise bylaw would be easy to develop and easy to defend.”
The coalition would work together on a common noise bylaw, share generic bylaw development, and request a court review of the bylaw.
Howard said drafting the generic bylaw would cost about $30,000 to $50,000, while the court review would cost about $250,000.
“Is Kincardine interested?” asked Howard.

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