City Releases Inadequate Noise Bylaw: Toronto Deserves Better

toronto-noise-coalition-logo
Resident groups say the changes the City is currently proposing for noise bylaw do not measure up to the standards of other major urban centres and fall far short of what a world-class city like Toronto deserves.

 Coalition proposes 7 Point Plan based on successful New York City model.

The Toronto Noise Coalition (the ‘Coalition’) finds that the proposed changes to Toronto’s noise bylaws are without many of the key details that will allow Toronto to better manage noise. Noise is a pressing problem and the City’s proposed changes will not solve it. Specifically, the City’s proposed changes are:

  • Without teeth – with no increased funding for increased and more-timely enforcement, and, there is no onus on mitigation of noise at the source.
  • Without vision – There is no clear statement of a general provision that the central purpose of the by-law is to protect the health and well-being of the citizens.
  • Without sufficient public input – while over 90% of Torontonians are concerned about noise, only 8% are aware that the City is considering bylaw changes, and,
  • With too many opportunities for exceptions – the whole by-law is undercut by the availability of exemptions and a stream-lined process for a blanket application for multiple exemptions.
Noise is a pressing issue for citizens across the city. The coalition has conducted its own survey (available at www.torontonoisecoalition.ca). It proves that the overwhelming majority of Torontonians are concerned about noise. Yet, only a very small percentage even know that the city is about to make significant changes to the noise by-law. The changes are going forward without most people knowing what they are.
“Our member resident associations are telling us that there is bound to be a backlash,” said Coalition spokesperson, Ian Carmichael. “The general public will soon realize the proposed changes will give them less rather than more protection against intrusive noise and nowhere near the protection that residents of other cities have.”
The Coalition proposes that Toronto follow the New York City’s approach, which it has summarized as a 7-Point Plan for Effective Noise Management. The key points are: Declaration of Policy; a General Provision for 24/7 protection from vibrations and sound; and specific recommendations for Amplified Sound, Construction, Mechanical Equipment, Exceptions, and Enforcement.
“New York City gets it right,” Carmichael said. “They brought in recognized noise experts and ensured the bylaw process was not primarily an economic development exercise, as it is here in Toronto.”
One of the primary authors of New York City’s noise bylaw is Charles Shamoon, Assistant Counsel, New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  He said, “In New York City, we developed an effective noise bylaw that takes into account science, the concerns of residents, public health needs and city planning as a whole. We brought in all of the various stakeholders and we worked together to create a consensus around noise in NYC. And it works well.”
The Toronto Noise Coalition is made up of dozens of local residents’ associations and many independent stakeholders in the noise management debate.
Carmichael said, “The City of Toronto is trying to ram through this bylaw without considering the needs of all stakeholders, including the City’s own internal barriers to enforcement. It’s not just about funding. For example, while the bylaw covers motorcycle noise, only a police officer has the power the pull over a motor vehicle and issue a ticket.”
Carmichael said, “We offer our 7 Point Plan for Effective Noise Management as an alternative solution to the City’s proposed changes.”
An overview of the Coalition’s 7-Point Plan is below with full details available at www.torontonoisecoalition.ca.
DECLARATION OF POLICY: Clearly communicate the Purpose of the Noise Bylaw is to protect the health and quality of life of the residents of Toronto.
GENERAL PROVISION: Include a General Provision for 24/7 protection from vibrations and sound of such a volume or nature that it is likely to disturb the City’s inhabitants.
AMPLIFIED SOUND:  Replace and improve the specific bylaw prohibition 591-2.1 problematic noise sources to be projected beyond a property line onto streets or public places particularly City parks.
CONSTRUCTION: Comprehensive standards will limit the negative effects of constant construction.  It must also encourage companies to adopt innovative technology and noise mitigating measures, such as a Noise Mitigation Plan – Contractors must develop a noise mitigation plan prior to the start of work. Every construction site must have a noise mitigation plan on location. If noise complaints are received, an inspector will ensure the contractor has posted the plan and that it is being followed, and Construction Scheduling – Prohibit construction of new homes and other major construction in residential areas on weekends and statutory holidays from May 1st to October 31st. Owner occupied work would still be permitted to perform needed work on their own homes as needed.
MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT: Toronto’s Noise bylaw must contain a section regulating disruptive noise from HVAC equipment (resident, commercial, and industrial) by imposing reasonable standards for this equipment.
EXCEPTIONS: Exceptions must be considered a privilege not a right. Series approvals (approvals of more than one event at a time) should only be offered to applicants with a record of good compliance and an upper limit of the number of series approved by one application should be required- i.e. no more than three at a time. Noise Mitigation Plans must be a requirement for all exceptions applications to the policy. Limits to the number of permit approved in any park each year must be set. Events in residential neighbourhood parks must end no later than 10 pm.
ENFORCEMENT: Council must commit to increased investment for effective and timely enforcement

For further information contact:

Bylaw Adjustments Proposed for Properties on Markham, Euclid, Montrose and Queen (MOCCA), Pendrith and Crawford

The following items will be before the Committee of Adjustment on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 in Committee Room 2 of Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.

Within the files below you will find instructions on how to submit your comments to the Committee of Adjustment and how to sign up to speak. If you have any questions or comments, please email Mike Layton at councillor_layton@toronto.ca or call (416) 392-4009.

9:30am
458 Markham Street: To legalize and maintain the existing 2½-storey building that contains a dental office and four dwelling units. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

669 Euclid Avenue: To alter the approved building permit plans for a three-storey semi-detached dwelling with three dwelling units by constructing a larger third floor with a rear deck and extending the rear second floor deck. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

1:30pm
419 Montrose Avenue: To alter the existing two-storey townhouse/rowhouse by constructing: a rear two-storey addition with a basement walkout, a second suite in the basement and to extend the front porch and rear yard deck. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

944-952 Queen Street West (Queen and Shaw — previous site of MOCCA): To alter the existing two storey buildings with office, retail, and restaurant uses. The east building will be used as a restaurant, a portion of the south building will contain retail uses, with the remainder as office uses. The north and west buildings will contain office uses. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

2:30pm
193 Pendrith Street: To alter the one-storey detached dwelling by constructing a second-storey addition. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

152 Crawford Street: To alter the existing three-storey, two-unit semi-detached dwelling by constructing a rear third-storey addition and a rear third floor deck. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

3:30pm
52 Euclid Avenue: To alter the existing two-storey semi-detached dwelling by constructing a rear one-storey addition. (Click to view: google map, notice, and plans)

About the Committee of Adjustment:
The Committee of Adjustment is comprised of citizen members and Councillors do not sit on this committee. They regularly hold public hearings to consider applications for minor variances, permission and consents. To learn more about the Committee of Adjustment please visit: www.toronto.ca/abcc/qj-committee-adjustment.htm

Note: Committee of Adjustment Decisions are posted online here.

This Saturday: Community Environment Day in Fred Hamilton Park (April 30th, 10am-2pm)

fred-hamilton-park-environment-compostCommunity Environment Day is a safe way to dispose of household hazardous waste and the other items listed below. You can also pick up free compost. Ward 19’s Environment Day also features many local organizations and associations that come out to let you know what they are working on and how you can get involved.

Join Mike Layton and enjoy a free Community BBQ hosted by the Friends of Roxton Road Parks.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Fred Hamilton Park (map)

Here are the items you can pick up and drop off at Environment Day:

Drop off for recycling/disposal

  • Cell phones, small electronics, and TVs
  • Printers, ink cartridges, fax machines, and computer parts
  • Household hazardous waste and unused medications
  • Oils, solvents, and pesticides
  • Propane tanks and fluorescent light bulbs

Pick up for FREE

  • Leaf Compost (limit one cubic metre per household)

Green Bins and Kitchen Containers

  • Bring damaged bins for exchange
  • Get new bins, bring proof of residence in the last 90 days

Donate to schools for reuse

  • Art supplies (e.g. pencils, markers, crayons, etc.)
  • Buttons, keys, and collectors’ coins and stamps
  • CDs and cases
  • Children’s books and clipboards
  • Costume jewellery including broken/old watches, dress-up clothing
  • Fabric pieces and yarn
  • 35 mm cameras and equipment

Donate for reuse

  • Sporting goods (e.g. skates, hockey equipment, bikes, rackets, etc.)
  • Books (excluding school/university curriculum books)
  • Medical equipment in good condition (e.g. eyeglasses, walking aids, hearing aids, etc.) Small household items (e.g. dishes, ornaments, kitchen utensils, artistic drawings, games, etc.)
  • Textiles in good condition (e.g. clothing, linens, etc.)
  • Non-perishable foods will be donated to a food bank.

*All donated items must be in very good condition*

Please do not bring: Construction waste, gasoline, garbage, wood, cassette and videotapes, commercial/industrial hazardous waste, and scrap metal.

Bridging Worlds through Music Fundraiser, Artscape Youngplace, April 30, 2016

Enjoy an evening of live music, all in support of music education in Tanzania. Giselle Janette will grace the stage with her beautiful singer/songwriter vibe, followed by the pop-rock song stylings of Christie Ulicny and the rock and roll of The Roaming Coyotes. There will be a silent auction packed full of great items, from performance tickets to instruments, and a 50-50 draw to support our amazing cause.

Event Details:

  • Date of Event: Saturday, April 30, 2016
  • Start Time 8:00pm
    End Time  11:00pm
  • Venue: Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw St, Studio 101, Toronto, ON

Bridging Worlds Through Music is part of the Canada Africa Partnership Network and offers free music education, teacher training and youth mentorship in Geita. For more information, please visit bwtmusic.com.

Tickets for this event are $20 which includes one free steamwhistle, and a raffle ticket to win a Beavercreek acoustic guitar. Tickets can be purchased online at: https://goo.gl/kZSBC6 or at the door for $25

Ward 19 Free Compost and Community Environment Days: April 23 – May 22, 2016

environment_days_park-MLaytonEnvironment Day Saturday April 30: This year, Ward 19’s Community Environment Day takes place on Saturday, April 30 at Fred Hamilton Park between the hours of 10:00a.m. and 2:00p.m.

For a list of what you can drop off or pick up please visit the City’s website here.

Get your Free Compost!

Mike Layton’s office will be holding 8 local Compost Days to help all of the gardeners in the ward prepare for the growing season. This compost comes from your leaf and yard waste that the City collects as part of the waste reduction and recycling program.

Mike Layton will provide compost, rubber gloves, and garbage bags for anyone who would like to help me collect garbage left over from the winter thaw that has collected on the ground.

Please remember to bring your own shovels and containers to collect your free compost.

List of other Environment Day locations and dates:

Trinity Bellwoods Park (map)
Saturday, April 23 – 11:00 a.m.
On the north side of the park, east of Crawford Street

Dewson Jr and Sr Public School (map)
Sunday, April 24 – 10:00 a.m.
In the parking lot off of Dewson Street

Christie Pits (map)
Sunday, May 8 – 10:00 a.m.
At the Alex Duff Pool building parking lot

Senhor Santo Christo Catholic School (map)
Sunday, May 8 – 12:00 p.m.
In the parking lot off of Humbert Street

Essex Jr and Sr Public School (map)
Sunday, May 15 – 8:00 a.m.
In the front of the school, beside the lay-by on Essex Street

Healey Willan Park (map)
Saturday, May 21 – 10:00 a.m.
At the corner of Ulster Street and Euclid Avenue

Stanley Park North (map)
Saturday, May 21 – 12:00 p.m.
At the entrance off of Walnut Avenue, north of King Street

Art Eggleton Park (map)
Sunday, May 22 – 10:00 a.m.
Just north of Harbord, on the grassy clearing

Have questions about our Compost Days? Contact Marco Bianchi in Mike Layton’s office at mbianch@toronto.ca or call 416-392-4009. For more information, visit www.toronto.ca/compost.