Summerheights Golf, Cornwall, Ontario

OPINION: An Ocean of Noise

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: An Ocean of Noise
Photo from Flickr by Maarten.

A few weeks ago I put a small mention in the Scuttlebutt section of our print edition about an effort by the Ottawa Police to crackdown on noisy vehicles, especially in residential neighbourhoods. The response I got to that question was surprising to me. Many readers took the time to call and email me to let me know that they are having issues with noise in their neighbourhoods.

This was something that I had not expected, but seems to be an issue not limited to one area of Cornwall.
I received messages from residents in Riverdale, the East End, along Water St., and from up and down Pitt St.
The City of Cornwall has had a noise by-law on the books since at least 1996 which prohibits, amongst other things, street racing, squealing tires, and operating any combustion engine without proper intake and exhaust.
Residents who wrote to me complained of all of these issues.

This issue reminds me quite a bit of the saga last fall around the burn by-law. At the time, the Fire Chief came forward and asked for the by-law governing outdoor fires to be amended so that wood fires would not be allowed.
This created a division between residents who enjoyed their smoky campfires, and their neighbours who did not appreciate being unable to breathe on their own properties.

I for one wish we lived in a world where everyone respected each other’s right to enjoy their own property in peace, and that is basically what both of these issues come down to.

The noise by-law is in place because the enjoyment of my property should not be infringed by the enjoyment of yours.

Drivers of sports cars are entitled to rev their engines and enjoy the power of their property and I am entitled to peace and quiet in my own home, and in my backyard.

Same thing with the burn by-law, no resident should have to be stuck in their home all-day because their neighbour wants to have a fire.

Like with the burn by-law, a compromise needs to be found. In the case of the burn by-law, the City has encouraged residents to use gas fueled fires, or wood that minimizes smoke.

For those who have sports cars, or want to be out squealing their tires or racing, drive out in the country where you won’t bother anyone. If not, there is a by-law in place to deal with these issues, and I hope the Cornwall Police Service and our local By-Law officials follow the lead of their Ottawa counterparts and do a crackdown to send a message.

Share this article