Tiny noise bylaw fines could be doubled

·2 min read

Tiny council could soon double fines for noise-related complaints.

The changes to the noise bylaw are set to come forward at an upcoming council meeting and were outlined in a previous staff report part of a committee of the whole agenda.

Recommendations included in the report speak to doubling of Part I tickets from $150 to $300. As well, the changes suggest that domestic tools and lawn maintenance equipment be defined anew.

According to the updated definition, domestic tools will mean any tools, equipment or devices designed or intended for construction or maintenance use of private property by the property owner. This use does not require a building permit. The tools include air compressors, electric power tools, manual hammers, and others, but not lawn maintenance equipment, or items used for snow removal. Lawn maintenance equipment will mean any equipment, which uses a combustion or electric motor, for the purposes of yard maintenance or repair. This includes chainsaws, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, grass trimmers, or any similar equipment, but does not include snow removal equipment.

These tools will be prohibited from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. (Monday to Friday) and 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holidays.

Staff requested council approval at the same night's council meeting so plans could be set into motion.

Coun. Tony Mintoff supported that request.

"I think the timing makes it qualify for the quick reaction from council," he said. "Soon the leaf blowers and machines will be out, especially (during) the severe stay-at-home orders. There's reasonable justification for hastening of the issue."

However, Coun. Cindy Hastings pointed out a missing communications plan.

Steve Harvey, chief municipal law enforcement officer, said it would be fairly easy to pull something together.

"There are some changes here but nothing drastic," he pointed out.

But Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma also wanted council to move slowly.

"I don't see this as a time-sensitive piece," he said. "No one's life is at risk. There are a couple fines but the couple weeks are for public comments."

The matter was discussed at a recent Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations (FoTTSA) board meeting, after which Lynne Archibald, secretary FoTTSA, sent in a comment to MidlandToday.

"FoTTSA believes that the addition of domestic tools and lawn maintenance equipment to the list of noise making activities which are prohibited at certain times ensures respect for neighbours and still allows people the freedom to take care of their properties and engage in their hobbies," she wrote.

The bylaw will be be brought back at the next council meeting at the end of this month.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com