York Quay Neighbourhood Association covers Toronto’s iconic Central Waterfront, with members in every building. YQNA is actively engaged in what shapes our neighbourhood – traffic, transit, planning, cultural and social events, policing, environment, noise, businesses, and the great urban renewal transforming Queens Quay. YQNA welcomes all residents to participate, share their ideas and enjoy our events.
City Council adopted a new Noise By-law with amendments at the April 16 and 17 meeting, 2019.
YQNA has been involved with the by-law review since its inception in 2015. Countless hours have been spent in meetings of the Working Group, in deputing at Committees, and in trying to understand the complexities of sound, how it travels and how it is measured. YQNA joined forces with the Toronto Noise Coalition (TNC), which has members from across the City.
The new by-law is quite short. It has some useful definitions, and regulates 8 kinds of noise, from amplified sound to animals to leaf blowers. It has introduced the use of approved noise meters to be used by MLS staff in checking on sound levels using both the dB(A) and dB(C) scales. While the sound level limits are now more reasonable, the measurement depends on Leq, which is a kind of averaging or smoothing, over a ten minute period, which does not work at all for music. Amplified sound is to be measured at a “point of reception” outdoors or indoors, while noise from a motorcycle is to be measured 50 cm from the tailpipe. Other kinds of noise are just prohibited during certain times, generally from 7 pm to 7 am on week nights and before 9 am on weekends and holidays. Government work, which includes work by the TTC, the Province, the Federal Government and the City, is exempt from the by-law.
The current (old) noise by-law begins with a General Prohibition, which states “No person shall make, cause or permit noise or vibration, at any time, which is likely to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the inhabitants of the City.”
This is removed. It is replaced by “No person shall make, cause or permit noise, at any time, that is unreasonable noise and persistent noise”, where the underlined noises are defined terms. This sounds fine until we read the second part, which states that this provision does not apply to any of the 8 kinds of sound which are dealt with elsewhere in the by-law. Vibration is no longer mentioned, and is only captured somewhat by the dB(C) measurements for amplified sound. This means that activities such as construction or leaf blowing can be noisy during the work day.
The members of TNC are understandably disappointed that after so much work their comments, concerns and suggestions seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The loss of the General Prohibition is of particular concern, because this rule has been used successfully in the past to prosecute noisy clubs and tour boats. A small victory has been the lowering of the dB thresholds from the levels staff had started out with in 2016, but the requirement for by-law officers to actually take measurements at your home is unworkable. By the time they can attend, unless the noise source is a regular, predictable event like a Saturday night dance, the party or concert will long be over.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Radisson Admiral Hotel
249 Queens Quay West
World Expert on Creating a Vibrant & Healthy Toronto
GIL PENALOSA is Founder & Chair of 8 80 Cities and Ambassador of the World Urban Parks Organization
ALSO ON OUR AGENDA
- Report on Homeless Shelter coming near the Waterfront
- Noise Bylaw – outcome and consequences
- U of T to study condo noise in our neighbourhood
- Efforts to dampen party boat noise
- Summer plans sure to liven up the Waterfront
- See the full agenda here
- News from our elected politicians
- Raise your issues concerning our neighbourhood
- After the meeting, socialize in the Radisson lounge
Thanks to the Radisson Admiral Hotel for their generosity and hospitality!
The City has advised that crews will be working to repair the Gardiner supports (bents and piers) in two sections in our area: Lower Simcoe to Rees Streets, and Spadina Avenue to Dan Leckie Way. The new bike trail west of Lower Simcoe will be closed. Work hours are 7 am to 11 pm Monday to Friday, and 9 am to 7 pm on weekends.
Ontario Place is a critical part of our City. Earlier in January, the Provincial Government’s plans for Ontario Place became clearer. Tourism Minister Michael Tibollo announced a process that will turn almost all of Ontario Place over to the private sector. The Provincial process puts at risk the Cinesphere, the recently completed Trillium Park, and the pods.
To ensure our City and residents have a say, our Councillor Joe Cressy moved a successful motion to establish a special City of Toronto Ontario Place sub-committee. This subcommittee reports to Toronto and East York Community Council. Members of the public are welcome to submit communications, and register to speak their views publicly.
The first meeting of the Subcommittee of Ontario Place will be on Tuesday March 5th at 5:30pm, City Hall, Committee Room 1. We are encouraging people to attend and share their views. The Subcommittee will also consider a detailed report from City staff on the history and status of Ontario Place, and more.
YQNA has followed the fate of trees that were planted on Queens Quay by Waterfront Toronto (WT) three years ago. Of the 227 young trees, most had died or failed to thrive due to harsh weather conditions, vandalism, salt, fungus, watering problems, or they were simply the wrong type of tree for the challenging weather conditions on the Waterfront.
Residents had been worried about this decline for a long time. Wayne Christian and Carolyn Johnson of YQNA were among them, so they conducted a visual survey of dead, missing, sick and healthy trees, which was sent to WT along with our request to replace the trees. It was no simple matter to analyze this tree situation—which species can thrive, how to protect the trees etc.—but Netami Stuart of WT spoke at our Fall meeting about the large undertaking of replacing 154 trees with new species. That happened in late October, 2018. WT will issue a brochure about taking care of our new trees, and YQNA will help distribute the knowledge to businesses and condo boards. We hope a great tree canopy will define Queens Quay in the future.