Noise keeps neighbor awake

 

By Karen Fallon

Willow Beach resident Gary Bauer informed council at the Oct. 29 meeting, that the nightly noise from the neighbour’s barking dog and hot tub mechanism is keeping him awake.

However, the town’s by-law dictates that barking has to be excessive and that regulates the sounds originating from a hot tub operating as designed.

In answer to councilor John Sutton’s question regarding any possible violations at this time by Bauer’s neighbours, the town by-law enforcement officer BJ Wilder responded that there were none.

“Obviously each person is different in terms of things that will disturb them,” said Sutton.  “There is just no way that any legislative body could ever get a bylaw to pertain to, in our case, over 22,000 resident’s definition of disturbance.”

“I believe there have been some accommodations made with regards to the dog but he still barks at six in the morning and wakes me up then,” said Bauer. “The hot tub comes on at three and runs until five thirty, comes on at six o’clock and runs until seven-thirty, eight and then shuts off for the day.”

The dog is mainly in the house and is out for only short periods of time, says Wilder.

According to the by-law officer’s report, there are numerous outdoor mechanical devices and non-mechanical items, which create sound that the town does not regulate through a noise by-law as long as it is operating as intended.

It was determined, says Wilder, that the hot tub does not appear to have any malfunctioning mechanical parts that could be creating any form of sound other than it was intended to when operating.

The by-law enforcement officer says as a result of discussions with the owners of the hot tub they have voluntarily agreed to program the unit so that its filtration system does not cycle during the evening hours.

This accommodation carried out by the owners was not something the Town could have forced them to do via any by-law, says Wilder.

Bauer asked at the council meeting held Oct 29, that the town consider modifying its by-laws similar to those of the City of Toronto, which reflect “peace and quiet” in neighbourhoods.

Wilder says he is aware that the Amherstburg Police have investigated complaints of barking and hot tub noise during the months of June through September at Bauer’s neighbor home.

However, no fines have been imposed for excessive noise at this time.

Council agreed with administration’s recommendation that neither Noise Bylaw 2001-43 and Noise Bylaw 2001-43 not be amended at this time as the current enforcement procedures adequately address such complaints.

“You can’t legislate good neighbours, and I am not saying anyone is to blame,” said councilor John Sutton. “I don’t think there is anything else we can do as a legislative body.”

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