Editorial: Toughening up noise bylaws

Council decision to lift covenant leads to tougher enforcement of noise bylaws

Tolerance is something that appears to be missing in today’s world. People move to places where there are such things as train whistles, five o’clock guns, church bells and hotels. They know what they are getting into and then they start complaining. In Fernie, for example, there are residents who want the train whistle stopped because it disturbs them. Never mind that it is a safety issue and has been going on for 100  years. Others complain of noise when they move to an area that has a commercial establishment in the vicinity and they don’t like it.  Haven’t heard anyone complain about church bells though.

Sooke is a community trying to thrive in a very tough business climate and businesses do not need impediments forced on them.

At Monday night’s council meeting, a restrictive covenant was lifted thereby allowing the Sooke Harbour House to hold outdoor events without fear of breaking any covenants. Mayor Wendal Milne and Councillor Maja Tait were opposed. Council decided that a stricter and more definitive bylaw enforcement policy would suffice. It was not an issue of use but rather one of noise. This will not make some of the neighbours happy, but to restrict a business’s ability to do business doesn’t make them happy either. No one wins really when there is still the tension and ill will in the neighbourhood. This whole issue brings up the fact that the district did not have an effective and accessible complaints procedure and it has now dealt with that and it will help other neighbourhoods, not just the ones on Whiffin Spit.