What is noise?
"Noise" means any sound that is liable to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of individuals or the public by being unreasonably loud or excessive.
Sources of noise can include, but are not limited to:
- Sound amplifiers such as stereos or public address systems;
- Musical instruments;
- Calls, barks or cries of harboured or kept animals;
- Any calls, barks, cries or other noises made by an animal which are audible outside the property where the animal is kept, for a period in excess of 10 minutes;
- Landing of a helicopter in a residential zone or on a property abutting more than two properties where the primary use is a dwelling;
- Landing of a helicopter in an agricultural zone or on a property abutting more than two properties where the primary use is agriculture;
- Motorized equipment such as lawnmowers, generators, snow blowers, motorboats, jet skis, dirt bikes, snowmobiles or similar devices;
- Operation of any kind of equipment, machinery or engine.
How does a noise bylaw work?
Noise bylaws may contain qualitative and/or quantitative provisions regarding noise generating activities and establish certain hours when particular types of activities or operations may not occur.
In addition to prohibiting noise, which unduly disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the public, specific prohibitions apply for things such as amplified music/speech and construction noise.
Noise that is unreasonably loud or excessive is prohibited at all times.
Enforcement is on a complaint basis, and complaints may be made to both the SLRD and RCMP.
How many noise bylaws are there in the SLRD?
There are three – the Electoral Area B Noise Regulation Bylaw No. 1496-2016, the Electoral Area C Noise Regulation Bylaw No. 1438-2015, and the Electoral Area D Noise Control Bylaw No. 1234-2011.
To create a consistent approach, each SLRD Noise Bylaw is aligned with existing municipal noise regulation bylaws.
How is a noise bylaw enforced?
As noted in the bylaw enforcement policy, the SLRD seeks voluntary compliance first when dealing with a bylaw enforcement matter. This is the same for all local governments. The RCMP will record complaints made to them, and respond to calls of noise violations.
It is important for a complainant to call the RCMP and submit complaints to the SLRD so both agencies can create files and investigate. If the noise issues continue then both agencies would be able to compile evidence of ongoing bylaw violations while recording the efforts made to achieve voluntary compliance through warnings and letters.
How does the SLRD deal with bylaw enforcement matters?
Can an event be exempted from the noise bylaw?
A special event may be exempt from a Noise Bylaw, where a valid permit has been issued under any Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Special Events Bylaw as amended from time to time, and where such permit allows for an exemption to this bylaw and the terms of that exemption, within the permit.
In the Electoral Area C and B Noise Bylaws, there are additional provisions that allows exemptions for any work carried out during restricted hours with permission of an Authorized Person, in writing, specifying the time during such restricted hours when such work may be performed. An Authorized Person is defined as "the Chief Administrative Officer of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District or his or her designate."
Why is there an option available to be exempted from the noise bylaw?
Typically with a noise regulation created by a local government, there will be some mechanism that allows for exemptions to be considered. Whether it is through something like a special events permit, or an application for exemption from noise bylaw, the intention is to provide the opportunity for events to occur outside the regular hours stipulated in the noise bylaw.
If there were no exemptions allowed from a noise bylaw, this could be perceived as preventing any large festival or community gathering from occurring if such an event took place outside the hours permitted in a bylaw. Attempting to control land use activities with a noise bylaw in an area with no land use zoning is not an effective approach to addressing land use issues.