Decibels limits may be added to noise bylaw

The city will consider incorporating maximum decibel levels into its noise regulation bylaw

The city will consider incorporating maximum decibel levels into its noise regulation bylaw after the issue came to council on Monday.

In Feburary, council requested staff bring forward a report on potential changes to the bylaw after a resident explained how people in his neighbourhood were kept awake by the industrial hum from businesses at Enterprise Avenue and McCallum Road. The resident questioned why other communities like Langley and Richmond have maximum decibel limits in their bylaws, but Abbotsford doesn’t.

The report was brought to council on Monday, noting that the current regulations haven’t been amended since 2008, and noise issues are becoming more frequent.

Staff found many communities in the Lower Mainland incorporate decibel levels into their rules. Abbotsford’s current regulations are based on “subjective standards” which cause problems for enforcement, particularly with residents near commercial operations, states the report. It notes that most jurisdictions take a “balanced viewpoint” by considering interests of residents and businesses in close proximity.

The report adds that setting maximum decibels can establish acceptable levels of noise and provide more clarity for the public on what constitutes excessive noise.

Staff will now review the existing bylaw, as well as look at the city to see where potential noise conflict boundaries could occur and ensure the regulations are aligned with the official community plan to establish noise, quiet, intermediate and activity zones.

There will be a public engagement process that will include a survey, notices and information sessions with businesses, including working with industry associations and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.