By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Residents of the Slocan Valley will now have recourse if they suffer from a chronically noisy neighbour.
The board of directors of the Regional District of Central Kootenay approved a motion at its January 21 meeting to expand its noise bylaw to include Area H — the Slocan Valley and the north end of Pass Creek.
But don’t expect the `noise police’ to be patrolling the area, knocking down offender’s doors.
“First step always taken is through education of the bylaw and encouragement to comply with requests made,” says Grace Allen, the bylaw enforcement team leader for the RDCK.
Under the RDCK bylaw, Allen’s office must receive two letters of complaints against the same source of noise for a file to be opened for investigation. Then, a series of escalating actions takes place from there.
Allen says at the discretion of the bylaw officer, courtesy action may be taken on receipt of one noise complaint. That means only that bylaw officers will bring the provisions of the bylaw to the attention of the person of interest, identify the hours the bylaw is in affect, and request voluntary compliance.
On receipt of two written complaints, the bylaw officer will ask each complainant to keep a noise log that contains information such as when the noise started and stopped, she said. “.125The bylaw officer will.375 identify the type of noise that is causing concern (parties, loud live or recorded music, hooting and hollering, animal-related noises, etc.), identify the location of where the noise emanates and follow up by notifying the person of interest of the bylaw provisions and request voluntary compliance.”
Should the notices be ignored, Allen says a written warning can then be issued to the person of interest. The written warning is to bring the fine amount to the person’s attention and advise a fine will be issued if compliance is not met.
If the problem continues and more complaints are received, a fine of up to $200 per offence (plus court fees) can be issued.
Allen notes there are exemptions to the bylaw, including emergency repairs to a dwelling, garage, or signage farm animals located on ALR land that has a class designation of agriculture under a zoning bylaw and public works for road maintenance or repairs.
Emergency sirens from fire, ambulance, police and other signalling devices deployed for safety are also exempt.