TBM police getting scores of 'unfounded' noise complaints

·3 min read

The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) is dealing with an onslaught of noise complaints – including several repeat, 'unfounded' complaints, according to TBM Mayor Alar Soever.

“I know that there are frequent noise complaints, particularly concerning one residence [in TBM]. Are some of these unfounded complaints getting to a frequency where it may be necessary to lay charges of public mischief?” Soever asked during a recently held TBM Police Service Board meeting.

According to Kevin Cornell, administration sergeant for the Collingwood/TBM OPP detachment, officers are currently monitoring the situation in consultation with the TBM bylaw department.

“It has not come to that point yet, but it could come to that point in the near future,” Cornell stated.

From January to September, the local OPP detachment reports distributing 95 warnings and laid three charges in regards to noise complaints.

In the same time period, officers report responding to 66 unfounded complaints.

A complaint is deemed 'unfounded' if no evidence of excessive noise is observed by investigating officers.

Noise complaints related to short-term accommodations (STA) from January to September, included 27 warnings, one charge and two unfounded calls.

“When you get complaints every day, as has been the case with this one residence, at some point, it needs to be stopped,” Soever said.

According to Cornell, 70 per cent of complaints stem from "the base of Blue Mountain, some in Tyrolean Village and some on the outskirts of the Tyrolean area."

In an effort to get a grip on the complaints, TBM will be considering including a clause in its proposed STA bylaw that would require STA owners to install a noise monitoring device called Noise Aware.

“Noise Aware monitors the levels of noise [in the residence] and as the level of noise goes up, the responsible person for that STA will get an alert on their phone. Ideally, it's set at a point where the noise has not become an issue but is going up to a point where it will be an issue,” said TBM CAO, Shawn Everitt.

Everitt says the noise monitoring system consists of an indoor and outdoor sensor and comes with a cost of approximately $4,000 to install and $50 per month for service.

“In the grand scheme of what they're making in rentals, it is a very minor cost of operating,” Everitt said.

He adds that noise monitoring devices can also provide STA owners protection from unfounded complaints.

“We know a number of STAs that currently use it. They're using it more for due diligence and defence in the case of a noise violation, as they're able to actually provide a report that can show the noise wasn't to a point where it was causing a disturbance,” Everitt added.

Gail Ardiel, the provincial appointee to the TBM Police Services Board, says she is in favour of seeing these devices employed as it would allow officers to spend more time in other areas.

“This is taxing on the police department going out for these calls and then they're unfounded. I think this would be beneficial for the STAs to get on board with this,” Ardiel said. “If they can move forward with it, and then eliminate these calls, our police department can move onto more serious calls.”

TBM’s STA bylaw has not yet been approved by council and will be subject to a public meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca