White Rock council sounds off on nuisance noise

Motorcycles, skateboards cited by councillors as source of disruption.

The noise of motorcycles along Marine Drive was brought up at White Rock city council last week.

The noise of motorcycles along Marine Drive was brought up at White Rock city council last week.

A lively discussion about motorcycle noise along Marine Drive and skateboards in residential areas arose at White Rock city council last week, following the presentation of proposed bylaw amendments aimed at curbing nuisance properties.

The amendments, presented by director of planning and development services Karen Cooper Oct. 26, aim to give city bylaw officers the authority to impose fines upon property owners, whose rental properties are unsightly or the subject of noise complaints.

Staff have also recommended changing the start time for construction crews to 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and to 9 a.m. on Saturdays – both from its current 7 a.m. – with the restricted hours also applying to power equipment such as lawn mowers.

Following Cooper’s presentation, Coun. Lynne Sinclair asked if the noise-bylaw amendments would extend to skateboarders who, she said, were the source of many noise complaints throughout parts to the city.

Cooper responded that the bylaw does not cover skateboarders or long boarders.

“When someone is operating equipment on their property, they don’t have as fast a getaway as the skateboarders do,” Cooper said. “Our challenge is actually catching the people who are making the noise, and we don’t get there fast enough.”

Coun. Megan Knight – noting she lives in a neighbourhood often disrupted by skateboarders – brought up the issue of motorcycle noise along the waterfront.

“The noise that comes out of some of those motorcycles is just so annoying,” she said. “Is there anything we’re going to do about that?”

Cooper said that most motorcycles are “within acceptable levels of noise” and operators can’t be ticketed unless they are making noise early in the morning or late at night.

Coun. Grant Meyer noted that in the past, RCMP officers have held “blitzes” at the beach, when they measure the decibels of a vehicle’s muffler.

“Maybe that’s something council can direct the RCMP to ramp up,” Meyer suggested, noting it’s not just motorcycles but also “muscle cars” and other vehicles that contribute to the noise.

“Some of this stuff is just total BS, you don’t need your muffler to be at 130 decibels.”

Coun. David Chesney said he agreed that the city should ramp up its enforcement efforts, noting motorcycle noise has been an “ongoing problem for decades in White Rock.”

“Believe me, in the motorcycle community, word will get out very quickly and these people will no longer be traversing along Marine Drive as they currently are, unfettered,” Chesney said.

Council voted unanimously to consider the proposed bylaw amendments.

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