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Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Editorial: Noise and action on complaints

Many NOTLers don’t like noise disturbing the tranquillity of life in Canada’s self-proclaimed “prettiest town.”

Just look at the reaction to the now-notorious Pedal Pub tourist attraction, which could lose its licence to operate after Niagara-on-the-Lake council recommended the region not renew it later this month.

But it seems town council’s plan to severely limit noise emanations under a revised noise bylaw was just one step too far.

After a lot of noise about the noise bylaw, including a flash mob protest, a petition that rightly suggested hootin’ and hollerin’ and Happy Birthday singin’ could become extinct in NOTL, this past Monday councillors did the right thing and pulled the proverbial plug on the plan.

No doubt the numerous objections loudly voiced by residents, embarrassing national news coverage that made NOTL look like the town that fun forgot and a brilliant satirical piece by the Beaverton helped bring councillors around.

Now, the municipality will focus its efforts on enforcing the bylaw already on the books.

Speaking of enforcement and acting on complaints, we hope this means town bylaw officers will be freed up from the slam-dunk job of ticketing tourists on Queen Street, along Niagara Boulevard and elsewhere to stop by 89 Byron St., an unlicensed short-term rental that has been the subject of numerous noise and other complaints. But little action.

Or maybe there has been some action. We don’t know, because other than admitting that some complaints have been received and the town “has made efforts to inform the owner,” municipal staff won’t answer our specific questions about the situation.

As our story on page 1 outlines, Chris and Jane Hutchings, and some of their neighbours, have been putting up with the noise and headaches since last November – and all summer, with a respite thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown.

We don’t think the questions we have are unnecessarily intrusive, but like the neighbours, we’d like to know what action has been taken by the town. Because the neighbours feel like their complaints have just been sucked into some bureaucratic black hole.

Some of the questions we put to the town: Have any bylaw-related charges (or other infractions) been levied against the property or its owner?

As there have been noise, property standards and litter complaints voiced, which of those is the town pursuing with the owner/numbered company?

The owner says he has rented the property to a numbered company. Is the town dealing with/contacting the owner, Ratul Kumar, or someone else regarding the neighbours’ complaints?

How many complaints have been received and when was the first one made?

We’ll have more questions, no doubt. On behalf of the folks who have to live with a “party house” next door, a few simple answers would be appreciated.