Noise By-law Debate Warms Up

Collingwood is booming.

It could be said that the Town is suffering from its own success, or good fortune, on being situated where it is with so much to offer current and new residents.

But with record development numbers comes some inconvenience. Construction jobs are everywhere which is outstanding news for the community. Construction isn’t a silent skill however, and there-in lies the issue.

Collingwood Council will once again talk about proposed amendments to the Town’s Noise By-law as it pertains to construction noise and the impact any changes could have on local developers at its next meeting on April 30th.

Two Prominent Collingwood Developers Speak Out Against Proposed Amended Noise By-law

Prior to the previous meeting of Council, Collingwood developer and president of Balmoral Village, Thom Vincent, had originally sent a note to Mayor Cooper and Council to express his views and to put forth suggestions for consideration.

At that time Vincent stated that he would support the compromise of construction hours on weekends.

“As a developer in Collingwood, I would support the compromise of construction hours on the weekend, with any heavy equipment, from 0800-1800 on Saturdays. Not on Sundays and Holidays. If the Council should decide on any further time restrictions on the Saturday, this could/will have catastrophic effects on the development engine for Collingwood.

CLICK HERE to view Staff Report #C2018-06(B) and to view comments from local residents.

Council recommended staff prepare the draft Noise Control By-law for consideration on April 30th based on Option 4

Vincent took issue with the Shelburne model being discussed as a possible model for the Town of Collingwood to adopt as it would prohibit the operation or use of any Construction Equipment in connection with Construction activities within developments not assumed by the Town or on property where site plan development agreement was approved. Under this model, activity would be allowed Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. but would prohibit activity on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. (Staff to explore possible exemption models).

Mr. Vincent has once again addressed Mayor Cooper and Collingwood Council on the matter.

“As I mentioned, the construction industry can concur with the first recommendation, but the Second Recommendation is unbelievably Draconian.. I cannot believe under any conventional wisdom, that any Council would consider putting this second part of a Noise by-law into effect. May I remind the Town of Collingwood that the Construction and Development industry in Collingwood is the largest employer, payers of taxes/DC charges in the Town. And now, in your wisdom, you want to penalize and restrict the industry that is the largest producer of benefits to the Town and Region. You are now sending another message to investors outside of Collingwood, that you are not supportive of our industry, and to take their business elsewhere.”

Vincent has made council aware that the construction season is short and weather can play havoc with project schedules. He says the construction business is challenging enough without having additional restrictions put on the shoulders of developers.

“As a Developer that is paying $7Million in DC Charges, for our Balmoral property, that has site plan approval for two blocks and two others to obtain SPA, … you want to restrict our construction completely on Saturday. With our challenging short construction season and weather patterns, I am completely at a loss for words on how foolish this proposal is and if you implement as above, as an industry, I know we will challenge the validity of your ‘wisdom’. And again, even asking to put another level of bureaucracy in place to manage ‘exemptions’, policing the by-law, interpretation of noise, and additional costs to the Town of Collingwood … I am at a loss to understand your thinking on this part of the Noise By-Law.”

Arnott Construction President Wades In With Opposition to Proposed By-law Amendments

In a letter from Nigel Shaw written to Town of Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin and dated April 23, 2018, additional questions were raised including if it was fair to institute a new noise bylaw on the eve of the new construction season.

Mr. Shaw is President, COO and owner of Arnott Construction, a company that is presently celebrating its 89th year of operation.

Shaw stated in his letter that Arnott Construction Limited does not support the proposed noise by-law for a number of reasons.

“In order to meet deadlines by clients, including the municipality of Collingwood, Saturdays are used to overcome days lost due to weather and unforeseen challenges. Saturdays are often used as days to allow curing time for concrete, testing of water and sewer mains which equipment is needed to complete. “

Shaw says people who say “add more forces” don’t understand the stages of the construction process.

“It is not always how much, but when.”

He asked if past and current contracts that have been issued by the tax payers been addressed, and if this could open the door for someone to challenge extra costs.

Shaw also raised the question as how a revised noise by-law would impact existing agreements.

“Would the proposed by-law supersede the MTO corridors within the town? Contracts have already been tendered and would these changes be included? (If not, could the tax payers be at risk?) Would this same concept be possible with any work at the waterfront under a MNR or DFO authority?”

Former Mayor Chris Carrier would like to see consideration be given to the warm weather months to allow for construction later in the day.

“I wondered if consideration could be given during the July to September months to allow construction to occur later in the evening. It is the hottest time of the year and there could be advantages to continue to work beyond the 7pm as drafted. The later hours are cooler and perhaps the by-law could allow work to continue to 30 minutes before sunset Monday to Fridays and also make the change to include longer hours on Saturdays.”

Carrier once worked in the construction business. He understands the situation at hand and points out that the Town itself must adhere to any changes made to its own bylaw.

“I am opposed to the Town of Collingwood exempting itself from the noise by-law. Town events or Town sponsored events should apply for an exemption and that exemption be given by Council as our elected representatives. I understand in the summer events at the Curling Club for example often open the back doors to allow heat to escape; a blanket exemption should not occur for noise especially if it is a private event versus a Town event – the standard of compliance should be the same.”

These and other concerns will be discussed when the noise bylaw hits the council table again on Monday April 30th.

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