Complaints about noise on the rise in Vancouver: Fresh statistics, media coverage, references

Casino constructionIn an article entitled “Complaints about noise on the rise in Vancouver,” the Vancouver Sun today (13-July-2016) reported on new statistics indicating that “peace and quiet can be a disappearing commodity in some Vancouver neighbourhoods.” CKNW provides addition detail, with graphs and an audio report. Below are some excerpts, with links, plus references for more reading, and action.

Noise affects quality of life, and health. There are tradeoffs between those benefits, and other activities in the city like construction, traffic, and bar/restaurant patios. A well-informed and active citizenry can do a lot to push things in the right direction.

From Vancouver Sun:

  • Data from Vancouver’s 311 call service reveals 2,148 noise complaints were received in 2015, almost double those received four years earlier. More than half originated in just five of the city’s 22 neighbourhoods, led by 421 complaints from the Yaletown and downtown area and 264 in the West End. Other noisy neighbourhoods include Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano and Grandview-Woodland, with more than 100 noise complaints in 2015, while Oakridge, South Cambie and Arbutus rank as the quietest areas, with 30 complaints or fewer.
  • Chief licensing inspector Andreea Toma says higher volumes are tolerated in busier neighbourhoods such as the downtown core, but she says noise bylaws apply everywhere and carry fines of up to $500.
  • The City is looking into creating a nuisance bylaw … with the ability to put a charge onto the property owner because they keep becoming a nuisance to the neighbourhood. The City might also consider adjust acceptable noise limits in various neighbourhoods to reflect increasing densification.
  • Noisy nightlife, after-hours construction and loud mechanical equipment, such as air conditioners, top the list of complaints.

Noise city: Vancouver’s noisiest neighbourhoods
News Talk 980 CKNW (Simon Little), July 12, 2016

Contains interactive graphs and maps, information about regulations, and comments from Hans Schmid, president of the Right to Quiet society.


Excerpt: Schmid has been fighting noise in the city for more than three decades, during which he estimates he’s filed more than 300 noise complaints. “The noise is getting worse. For one thing, the population continues to grow, and consideration in humans is decreasing and the combination of these two factors makes for more and more noise every year.” Schmid says a little peace and quiet is psychologically important to people as humans, a fact he says is being lost as the city drowns in the sounds of motorbikes, amplified buskers, aircraft, and construction… what he likens to an “acoustic mess.” … Schmid says he’d like to see more enforcement… But before that, education about the value of quiet and the effects of noise on people.



Demolition and construction: Neighbourhood impacts, the Vancouver Building Bylaw, recycling
(CityHallWatch compilation of the rules and what to do to take action if you are affected by construction noise.)

Live Music and Development: A Double Standard of Noise Pollution in Vancouver
A very interesting article with lots of references. (By Bill Young, August 1, 2013)

The Right-to-Quiet Movement…
Excerpt: A good place to find information on noise is the Right to Quiet Society Web site. Other anti-noise pollution organizations include the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, and the League for the Hard of Hearing.

Right to Quiet Society  – making some noise
Hans Schmid, president of the Right to Quiet Society, speaks to the consequences of excessive noise and what could be done about it. (Article in The Province)

One thought on “Complaints about noise on the rise in Vancouver: Fresh statistics, media coverage, references

  1. As the City of Vancouver’s own facts reveal for 2014 the COV received 2128 excessive noise complaints, nearly 6 per day, but issued only 13 infraction fines, just over 1 per month, not even enough to cover the paperwork.
    Strangely, though we’re over halfway thru 2016 the COV with all it’s computer power cannot supply complete statistics for 2015?

    Given that the COV’s in-house noise investigators only work standard City Hall hours perhaps it’s time that the COV contract out excessive noise investigations that address problems within a more responsive time frame, issue fines as warranted and return a profit to the COV, after all the COV has no problem contracting out towing services and plenty more.

    Problems with noise from construction, party boats, un-permitted park activities and so on after City Hall closes or on their days off?
    Well you can call 311 and you might get a call back after a few days or you can phone the VPD who may or may not show up.
    In our Inner-City Nbhd we’ve had construction companies like Stuart Olsen, Ventana and others working past midnite pouring concrete, starting before 7 am on weekends including Sunday’s and holiday’s all without obtaining the additional permits from Vancouver City Hall. There’s even been crews pounding away on Remembrance Day and as the facts show they all can do it without serious consequences.

    Noise complaints to Vancouver Park Board Rangers only result in action if you live in one of their select neighbourhoods like Riley Park where those living South of Mount Pleasant managed to force the VPB to install a fence, locked gate ( unlocked and locked daily by Park Rangers ) and noise barriers at the Mount Pleasant Park skatepark located north of the extremely busy West 16th avenue connector, a major East-West traffic route.

    There are no such barriers or fencing protecting area residents from noise generated at the China Creek Park South skatepark located right outside their windows but then again they don’t have personal friends sitting on the Park Board or City Council.

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