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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Letter: Council’s noise bylaw change is cockamamie
A noise complaint at the pickleball courts in Centennial Sports Park prompted town council to   change its noise bylaw.
A noise complaint at the pickleball courts in Centennial Sports Park prompted town council to change its noise bylaw. Brittany Carter/File

Dear editor:

Council’s rationale for its recent decision to allow recreational noise in all town parks defies logic.

The issue of concern is not the noise made at the Stampede and other similar short-duration special events, which require a permit to be held on town property.

It is the distinctive and repetitive noise made by pickleballs being struck by pickleball racquets repetitively in one particular park. And the fact that one resident who lives near the town’s pickleball courts objected to that noise and requested that the town enforce its noise bylaw.

Although I do not know all the ins and outs of what followed, it’s likely safe to assume that the matter ended up in court when the town failed to address the resident’s concerns to her satisfaction.

Instead of waiting for the court to rule on the matter, council has changed its noise bylaw in a cockamamie fashion that places the onus on NOTL’s director of operations to approve noise in parks, and gives this official the ability to limit any specific noise or recreational activity in parks between certain hours.

What’s next – a list of permissible activities, such as loudly exclaiming satisfaction after making a winning shot or play, provided the resulting noise does not exceed a certain decibel level?

Or are park users who think they may make noise while engaging in a recreational activity in a town park going to need a permit?

To top it off, the town, with no public consultation that I am aware of, is about to create a Frisbee golf course in what was up to now a quiet greenspace behind the NOTL Community Centre.

Has council considered the noise that will be generated by that activity and what impact it will have on nearby residents?

It reminds me of the process, as I remember it, that the town used when the tennis courts in Centennial Sports Park were converted to pickleball courts, which led to the current noise complaint issue.

The manner in which the noise issue has been managed by council and reported in the media is discouraging at best.

For The Lake Report to imply that 17,999 of us have been negatively impacted by the concerns of one individual resulting in the temporary closure of the pickleball courts in one park is ludicrous, (Editorial, June 2, “Sad that one person can affect so many”).

Only the people who actually play pickleball on those courts have been inconvenienced. And instead of waiting for the court to rule, and then working on a solution to address a specific noise problem, council has created what has the potential to become a much bigger noise issue.

Having recently spent some time vacationing in a property that included a pickleball court, I understand why some NOTL residents could find the noise of a pickleball being repetitively struck by a racquet all day long feels like torture.

To say those residents should move out of their homes if they don’t like the noise is unfair.

Changing our town’s noise bylaw in a manner that may make it impossible for those people to remain in their homes is even worse.

Terry Davis
NOTL