New rules for building noise aimed at quiet nights

Construction noise complaints are not that frequent at Langley Township hall but there’s been enough to catch the ear of council.

At their Jan. 12 meeting, councillors debated updated noise restrictions, including a formal process for people to apply for exemptions if they must build outside the normal daytime window of opportunity.

Council amended its noise bylaw to allow construction noise from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday with noise prohibited Sunday and statutory holidays.

Councillor Petrina Arnason said the hours may be insufficient and wondered why the bylaw didn’t set out decibel limits.

Mayor Jack Froese said the bylaw is complaints based.

“If it was actually on decibel level, we would have to be there to measure it at the time,” he added.

While staff noted that complaints are not frequent, council has been accused of not listening to residents. Most complaints centre on continuous concrete pours because they take several hours.

Coun. Charlie Fox said the amended bylaw shows the council is listening to residents’ concerns.

Council debated the hours, some noting construction relies on the available sunlight later into the evenings during summer.

Coun. Kim Richter said 12 hours is sufficient for business and residents should be able to expect some quiet time.

“I think our residents who pay the property taxes in the community are ones that should have the upper hand on this one,” she commented.

Coun. David Davis asked if the bylaw applies in rural/agricultural areas. The bylaw applies throughout the Township.

“What about cows mooing?” Davis said.

“As long as they’re not building,” Froese quipped.

In addition to the hours being reduced, the bylaw calls for people with construction valued at more than $500,000 to post a noise control bylaw sign on the project site. It must include the name of the general contractor, and the name and phone number of a person representing the contractor so the public can contact someone about noise issues. There must also be a phone number for complaints that is monitored 24 hours per day.

The amendments also formalize the process to ask for a noise bylaw exemption.

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