Changes To Town's Noise Bylaw Will End Live Music: Opponents

JT

The president and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the JUNO Awards has added his name to an online petition against proposed revisions to a noise bylaw in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

“If you love live music … then please take a moment to read this petition,” Allan Reid wrote in a Facebook post.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a historic town of roughly 18,000 people, located across Lake Ontario from Toronto, that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every summer.

At issue is the proposed addition of decibel levels to the town’s existing noise bylaw. It would ban “continuous electronically amplified sound; or live music” louder than 55 decibels (dBA) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. and louder than 50 dBA from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. (One of the proposed revisions to the bylaw exempts holders of special event permits.)

According to data from Yale University, 55 dBA is equal to the sound from a household refrigerator. 

Another proposal would prohibit “yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing” between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. instead of the current 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“We demand that these proposed revisions be rejected,” reads the change.org petition from Community NOTL, which claims they would eliminate outdoor concerts and live music on patios.

“Our extremely talented local musicians will be forced to look elsewhere for work as this will limit the number of available gigs for them.”

During a typical summer, the Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake hosts as many as 30 concerts by Canadian artists, including Sarah McLachlan, Randy Bachman, Sam Roberts, Serena Ryder, City and Colour, Gordon Lightfoot and Jann Arden.

At a virtual open house last month, Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery representative Del Rollo told town officials the changes "would put an end to our amphitheater, and would put an end to outdoor events in general,” according to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Local.

Residents of the town – roughly a quarter of whom are over 65 – have complained that bylaw enforcement officers do not work nights and police are often too busy to investigate and issue the $350 tickets.