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Officials silent on mysterious, high-pitched noise coming from Yellowknife parkade

A shrill noise is blaring from the Centre Square Mall Parkade in downtown Yellowknife. (Robert Holden/CBC - image credit)
A shrill noise is blaring from the Centre Square Mall Parkade in downtown Yellowknife. (Robert Holden/CBC - image credit)

If you walked by the Centre Square Mall on 51st Ave in Yellowknife, you might have noticed an odd noise.

It sounds like a high-pitched squeal that has been going all hours of the day for the last two weeks.

The sound gets louder when you step into the entrance of the parkade off 51st Ave, but can also be heard across the street to the end of the block.

Businesses in the area did not want to comment, but people passing by had some thoughts.

"It sounds like a security breach," Pauloosie Allooloo said.

"I noticed it for the past couple of days. What could possibly make that noise?"

Pauloosie Allooloo in Yellowknife said he has been hearing the high pitched noise for a couple of days.
Pauloosie Allooloo in Yellowknife said he has been hearing the high pitched noise for a couple of days.

Pauloosie Allooloo in Yellowknife said he's been hearing the high-pitched noise for a couple of days. (Travis Burke/CBC)

Another Yellowknifer said he's been hearing the high-pitched noise at all hours for the last week.

"I'm assuming it is to keep homeless people out of [the area]," said Corey Paquin. "No one is hanging out there any more, it's empty now."

The noise sounds similar to that of intentional noisemakers deployed to deter people from gathering.

Officials silent on noise

But what exactly is the noise and where is it coming from?

No one would go on record to say.

The lower part of Centre Square Mall is currently up for sale, listed on Avison Young for an asking price of $8.3 million.

When speaking with one of the realtors, Reed Newnham said he was "not sure" if the parkade was included in the sale, advising any current inquiries be directed to the current property manager.

Above the parkade and mall is the Northern Heights condo building, hosting 17 floors of condo units and tenants. Ryan Sundberg is the building's property manager, but when asked about the parkade and the noise coming from it, he did not respond to any calls and only emailed back a short response.

"We do not deal with the parkade. That's not part of our condo. Thanks," Sundberg wrote.

The Centre Square Mall administrative office. CBC News reached out to the mall by email and phone to ask about security of the parking garage. No one responded to discuss the situation. CBC News showed up to the malls administrative office on three occasions, but no one answered the on any of them.
The Centre Square Mall administrative office. CBC News reached out to the mall by email and phone to ask about security of the parking garage. No one responded to discuss the situation. CBC News showed up to the malls administrative office on three occasions, but no one answered the on any of them.

The Centre Square Mall administrative office. CBC News reached out to the mall by email and phone to ask about security of the parking garage. No one responded to discuss the situation. (Robert Holden/CBC)

According to a resident's guide to the Northern Heights condominium, parking is arranged through Huntingdon in the Centre Square Mall office.

CBC attempted to contact the office with several phone calls, voicemails and emails, and two visits to the office in person over two days, but received no response.

An operations manager in the mall directed CBC to contact the mall manager via email but the email bounced back saying the email address could not be found.

Noise in violation of city bylaw?

While the exact intention of the noise is unknown, the fact it can be heard all hours of the day means it could be in violation of the city's noise bylaw.

CBC confirmed the noise can be heard between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. which are the city's official quiet hours.

According to the bylaw, "No Person shall make or cause, or permit to be made or caused, any noise in or on a public or private place which disturbs or tends to disturb the quiet, pease, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of any person or persons during the city's Quiet Time."

Noise defined in the bylaw is any unnecessary and excessive sound, including any sound that is "loud or harsh or undesirable."

Anyone violating the bylaw can be subject to a fine of up to $2,000 for an individual or up to $20,000 for a corporation.

Emergency and enforcement vehicles are exempt from the bylaw.

A person can also get an exemption from the noise bylaw if they have authorization from the city's senior administrative officer.

City manager Sheila Bassi Kellett was not available to comment on whether she was aware of the noise, or if she had authorized a constant shrill noise in the capital's downtown.

One thing is for certain, while officials are quiet about the noise, the high-pitched squeal coming from the parkade remains loud.