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SLRD passes first three readings of Area C noise bylaws

Bylaws a result of info sessions held last summer

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With commercial assembly uses like agri-tourism and destination weddings on the rise in the Pemberton area, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is making moves to clamp down on noise complaints.

At its Nov. 25 meeting, the SLRD board of directors passed the first three readings of the Electoral Area C Noise Regulation Bylaw and the Electoral Area C Noise, Nuisance and Disturbance Control Regulatory Service Establishment Bylaw.

Before being adopted, the service establishment bylaw must be approved by the provincial government.

The bylaws could be approved and adopted in six to eight weeks.

The need for the bylaw became apparent after community consultations around the burgeoning events and wedding industry were held last summer, said SLRD chair Jack Crompton.

"We discovered that this is an industry that we want as a part of the Pemberton valley, we want it to be successful, but we want it to be done in a way that doesn't negatively impact agriculture or the livability of our communities," Crompton said.

"The key message from the community was that noise and nuisance is a problem that needs to be addressed."

Following the public information sessions in May and June, the SLRD board directed staff to develop a noise and nuisance bylaw.

The bylaw was designed to mirror that of the Village of Pemberton, so that two people living on opposite sides of an invisible border wouldn't have to abide by different noise regulations, Crompton said.

Noise bylaws from Whistler, Squamish, Lillooet and the SLRD's Electoral Area D were also reviewed in preparing the bylaw.

The SLRD's Area C noise bylaw would prohibit amplified music or sounds from Monday to Thursday before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m., before 8 a.m. and after 11 p.m. on Fridays, before 9 a.m. and after 11 p.m. on Saturdays and before 9 a.m. and after 10 p.m. on Sundays.

On statutory holidays, the bylaw would apply before 9 a.m. and after 11 p.m.

Noise or vibration made by heavy machinery would also be prohibited before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. on any day.

Noise from construction would be prohibited before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, and before 9 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.

All times cited in the bylaw are subject to change.

Exemptions include noise from emergency vehicles, normal farm practices, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staff working on provincial roads, BC Hydro crews, warning devices associated with public address systems and the use of bells or chimes by churches, schools or any public body.

Special events with valid permits from the SLRD, such as the Pemberton Music Festival, may also be exempted.

To enforce the new noise regulations, the SLRD will introduce a ticketing bylaw and appoint a bylaw enforcement officer — both are currently proposed for 2016.

The SLRD estimates there are five to 10 properties hosting recurring commercial events, and a number of others operating on a less frequent basis.

A report commissioned by the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce last summer found that the burgeoning destination wedding industry provides huge economic upside to the region.

In 2014, destination weddings in Pemberton resulted in $5.1 million in direct annual expenditures and approximately $8.5 million in total economic output, the report said.

The 80 weddings held in 2014 also provided an estimated 77 jobs to the community.

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