Levelling the playing field when it comes to noise

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Kingston –  It’s been over a decade since the city of Kingston reviewed its noise bylaw.  Now, some new rules are being proposed.  It would level the playing field… for sports, garbage collection and even fireworks.

They’re the type of sounds that go hand in hand with sports fields.  Whistles, anthems, cheering and PA systems.  According to Denita Arthurs – Manager of Athletics at St. Lawrence College – all that sound has the power to energize athletes when they take the field.  But there’s a problem under the current noise bylaw – the noise has to stop by 9pm.  That’s why SLC is just one of many institutions that have been working with the city of Kingston as it looks to update its noise control bylaw.

Denita Arthurs – Athletics Manager, St. Lawrence College
“The city does have a set of guidelines for their own fields and one of our recommendations that those set of guidelines would be applied for all fields in Kingston.”

City owned and operated fields are allowed to have amplified sound until 10:30.  That’s what’s now being proposed for all outdoor fields, extending the noise bylaw by an extra 90-minutes for places like Queen’s and the college.  Consistency is the name of the game, according to Lanie Hurdle, the commissioner who’s updating the rule book.

Lanie Hurdle, Community Services Commissioner
“We trying to make sure that we’re not necessarily treating ourselves differently than what we would treat Queen’s and St. Lawrence.”

But it’s not just sports fields getting new noise rules.  Under the revisions – construction crews could get exemptions to work until 11pm.  And private garbage haulers in the downtown could start at 6am – one hour sooner than what’s currently allowed.

“For me it doesn’t really matter because it usually wakes me up a little bit when it happens but I’m sort of accustomed to it and I go right back to sleep.”

“Oh I could imagine 6 o’clock squeaking and breaking and crashing yeah it would probably bother me.”

Celebrating holidays is another change.  The city wants to allow people to make noise from setting fireworks until 11pm on Victoria Day and Canada Day and 12:30 am on New Year’s Day.  But it could be a while before any of these relaxed noise rules take effect.  The proposal has been deferred for more community consultation.

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