The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) will be investigating options for addressing noise concerns in Electoral Area C that both encourage events and activities taking place in the region while minimizing the impact for area residents.
Area C director Susie Gimse told the SLRD board at last month’s meeting that she had heard a number of complaints from locals regarding the recent One Love Festival held at Birken Lakeside Resort. However, Gimse said she and the board have come to the conclusion that a noise bylaw isn’t the ideal way to address such concerns going forward.
“Area D has a noise bylaw, and now we’re starting to see some of those events move into Area C,” said Gimse, noting that the One Love Festival was formerly held in the Paradise Valley near Squamish.
“The conversation at the board table was that maybe a noise bylaw is not the answer. What are the options? That’s really what we’re asking staff to explore.”
Area D director Moe Freitag has previously expressed frustration over the effectiveness of his region’s noise bylaw, so Gimse is hopeful to see some “creative” solutions that perhaps deal with events on a case-by-case basis as opposed to a blanket policy.
Gimse recalled how the Birken 4 x 4 Rally used to be held in the Devine Pit, but eventually noise from the site became an ongoing nuisance for nearby residents when motocross activity became more frequent outside the event dates. In that case, the SLRD worked to secure Crown land south of Pemberton to form the current Green River Motocross Park.
“We found a new location because we realized those events are important to the community and should be supported. It was just the location that was wrong,” said Gimse. “That’s an example of how we’ve dealt with an issue related to noise.
“I don’t want (Area C) to be known as not a fun place to come and take in these events. So it’s just (a matter of) finding other opportunities.”
Similarly, Gimse said there may be a better site in the region capable of hosting festival-type events that has less of an impact on residents. However, she noted that tourism and commercial activities have the potential to create noise concerns as well.
“How can we accommodate that while at the same time make sure that the impact on the resident in the area is mitigated?” she said. “That’s really what we’re looking to deal with (while examining) what policies we can develop to encourage or support those kinds of activities while minimizing the impact to neighbourhoods.”