Noise By-laws Consultation for the City of Toronto

Municipal Licensing & Standards will be hosting a public consultation to discuss the feedback they received on their proposed noise by-law amendments since the previous Licensing & Standards Committee Meeting.

TAKE ACTION:

1.)  Attend the Consultation Meeting on Feb 17th, 6:30pm – 8:00 pm, Committee Room 1, City Hall 

At the Feb 17th meeting, stakeholders will be given an opportunity to speak in person and present their views.  No advance registration is required; ML&S will be making a presentation, and then open the floor to the public.

The consultation is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback to ML&S on their amendments; from there, ML&S will be reporting back to Licensing & Standards Committee on March 8th with their report and any revisions to the proposed by-law amendments. This report and its amendments will be made available by City Clerk’s office about one week prior to this March 8th meeting.

Full details are available here.

2.)  Write a letter voicing your concerns over the noise by-law proposed amendments.

Feb 17th is the deadline for written submissions.  Written submissions (about 1-2 pages) should be focused on ML&S’ report and proposed amendments as they were presented at the Jan 22 L&S meeting.

For written submissions it is critical that you to note the level of sophistication and organization from other stakeholders.  Tell them your company, who you are and what you do so your letter is weighed accordingly. 

Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) has cited a few major concerns with the proposal:

  • The term “point of reception” is not clearly defined. It is unclear if the noise measurements are to be taken inside or outside of a residence.  ML&S has informed us that the proposed noise limits are intended to be measured inside and we would like that to be clearly specified as “inside a residence with all door and windows closed”.  If instead this limit is measured outside, it will be a significant problem because the ambient noise level in most downtown neighbourhoods at night is well above 45dBA and therefore it would be impossible for any business to comply with this by-law and equally difficult to enforce.  If measurements are to occur either inside or outside, then separate noise limits are warranted.
  • The exponential fine increases that amount to over $100,000 per day.  This is more than 20x the current fines and would be detrimental to any small business.  Though we understand it is not the intention of ML&S to enforce the maximum fines, an increase of this magnitude is likely to be interpreted by the media and public as a contradiction against the Music City initiative that was created by Council and has received continued support throughout the current administration.

TMAC has also provided the following recommendations that are not included in the current report:

  • Distinguish residential from mixed use properties in order to provide a higher level of protection against noise for residents in quiet neighbourhoods, and simultaneously provide reasonable operating limits for businesses legally operating on mixed-use commercial retail streets. This distinction is important in order to balance the interests of residents and businesses.
  • Distinguish temporary sources of noise from permanent sources of noise. The current report empowers by-law to issue charges on the spot, which is contrary to our plan to implement a dispute resolution process that would help to resolve noise issues without legal action or fines. We suggest that by-law officers should not be empowered to issue charges on the spot for stationary sources of noise.