Excessive vehicle noise debate returns to council chamber

Edmonton police conduct motorcycle sound measurement testing to learn whether bikes meet requirements under the municipal noise bylaw in 2019. Now, Strathcona County council is reexamining what it can do to address loud vehicles in Sherwood Park. ED KAISER/Postmedia/File jpg, SP

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Revving engines have ignited frustrations yet again.

Excessive vehicle noise, whether it’s loud mufflers or engines, it’s an issue that comes up at least once a term.

While it’s not a major problem in some rural portions of the county, Ward 7 Coun. Glen Lawrence said the decibel level of Sherwood Park streets has been cranked up a notch with an “endless amount of loud trucks, motorcycles, and various other small vehicles with very loud exhaust systems.”

“I don’t understand what that’s all about. I find it quite annoying. I’ve spoken to a few urban people about it and they feel the same way,” Lawrence said. “I’m not big on rules and regulations but this noise thing has just gotten insane.”

At the latest Strathcona County council meeting on May 26, Lawrence proposed a motion for administration to provide a report for options to regulating excessive vehicle noise by the end of 2020, including approaches taken by municipalities and costs.

As recapped by Ward 2 Coun. Dave Anderson, the previous council approved the purchase of sound testing equipment by Enforcement Services to handle this problem. He noted it would be prudent to get an update on how that program is going and suggested there might be a problem with tickets being able to stand up in court.

“I know this has certainly been an issue for the past seven years that I’ve been on council and I would hate to see us trying to continuously recreate the wheel,” said Anderson.

Peace officers can’t be everywhere all of the time to track violators, he added.

“We definitely have a problem with (this) and we can throw all kinds of resources at it, but if the issue is trying to find the guy in my neighbourhood who is cranking on his muffler at 11 o’clock at night, it’s kind of like if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to see it happen, did it actually happen? I’m frustrated because I definitely know there is a problem in the community, but I just don’t know if there is a fix for it. I know Edmonton put noise assessment machines up on Groat Road and people were using it as a challenge,” said Anderson.

Strathcona County council is reexamining the creation of an excessive vehicle noise bylaw. Debate will return to chamber after June 30, following a deferral motion called by Coun. Brian Botterill, which was supported in a 5-4 vote. ED KAISER/Postmedia/File jpg, SP

Ward 6 Coun. Linton Delainey outlined he would rather see an educational approach is taken, rather than fines; “We want to have people abide and keep our community quiet. That’s our goal.”

Ward 3 Coun. Brian Botterill called for the motion to be deferred until after June 30, outlining a detailed report provided by the administration from the last term should be redistributed to council and the matter could be added to the creation of a Community Standards Bylaw, which is already in the works and should return to council by the third quarter of 2020.

Botterill called vehicle noise a nuisance issue and an “incredible hard file”.

Mayor Rod Frank noted his office receives many complaints concerning vehicle noise but agreed with the deferral because he didn’t want work duplicated by administration.

Botterill’s deferral motion passed, 5-4, with support from Frank, Anderson, Berghofer, Smith.

lmorey@postmedia.com

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