The Blue Mountains committee of the whole has recommended Breaker Technology (BTI)/Astec receive a one-year exemption from the town’s noise bylaw, with some specific conditions to address concerns raised by neighbouring property owners.
In October 2021, BTI requested an exemption from the provisions of the noise bylaw to allow its operations to continue until 11 p.m. The bylaw prohibits construction-related noise between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The company, which has manufactured mining and construction equipment in Thornbury for over 60 years, commonly generates noise when moving materials and products to and from their storage yard.
The issue returned to The Blue Mountains committee of the whole meeting held on April 26. BTI Humnan Resources Manager Brad Forrest and neighbouring resident Cim Nunn both made presentations to the committee about the request.
In a letter read to the committee, Forrest said BTI has made efforts to address the concerns raised by neighbours.
“Any time there was a complaint brought forward through bylaw enforcement, the company investigated quickly and responded in a timely manner to show that we wanted to “work with our neighbours”. We have invested resources, time, and money to ensure we were doing what we can to mitigate any impact we may be having on our neighbours,” said Forrest.
In his presentation to council, Nunn noted that BTI is located in a residential neighbourhood. He said in the past, the neighbouring property owners might have been part-time, weekend residents, but that had now changed.
“There are more people living here now,” Nunn said. “(BTI) has to recognize the impact they’re having on their neighbours,” he said.
A staff report advised that council could deny or approve the request for a noise bylaw exemption or approve a modified request. Staff said a permanent change to the noise bylaw would require a formal bylaw and public meeting, while a time-limited, temporary exemption could be granted via a resolution.
After plenty of discussion, the committee chose to recommend to council that an exemption to the noise bylaw, for one year, be granted, subject to two conditions: BTI forms a community engagement group/committee in an effort to address concerns from the neighbours and that noise monitoring equipment be installed by BTI to provide data on the impact of the exemption.
“The intention is we monitor the progress and, in a year’s time, it comes back. This relief will expire in one year. Hopefully, everybody is happy in a year,” said Mayor Alar Soever. “This is balanced. It does give (BTI) something, but with conditions.”
The conditional exemption received support from the committee, with only Councillor Paula Hope opposed.
“I’m loath to change our noise limitations. We should not change a bylaw that has served us all this time,” she said.
The committee approved the resolution in a 6-1 vote. The matter will return to council for a final decision on May 9, 2022.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca