Toronto is set to overhaul its noise regulations to help it investigate complaints in order of priority.
A rise in objections about anti-social noise, traffic tremors and construction clamour has forced city hall to examine the bylaws which it will be taking responsibility for from Toronto police.
Mark Sraga, the city’s director of investigation services, said the goal was to respond faster to high-priority noise complaints.
Currently, noise coming from licensed establishments are investigated within 48 hours of receiving a complaint and noise from construction projects or private homes are investigated within five business days.
But a report into the extent of the problem concluded that noise complaints should instead be given high, medium and low priority.
Sraga said: “We are assessing how we do respond to noise complaints, prioritising it, making the most effective use of our resources, as well as addressing the issues of the impacted residents.”
The report recommended responding to a complaint within 24 hours if the noise is heard every day with multiple complaints. Medium priority calls — to be investigated within five days — would require the noise to be heard once every week or two with multiple complaints. One-off occurrences may just be monitored.
The problem of noise
The report was carried out after a new rule was introduced by the mayor of the city forcing utility crews to do much of their work on downtown streets outside of daylight hours.
This meant that planned maintenance work had to be carried out between 7am and 7pm – at a juxtaposition with a city bylaw prohibiting loud noise overnight.
Recent research found that people in Toronto are regularly exposed to noise above exposure guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
The health effects of noise that could occur at levels commonly experienced in urban environments include cognitive impacts, sleep disturbance, mental health and cardiovascular effects.
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