Central Manitoulin defers noise bylaw for construction company

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CENTRAL MANITOULIN – A concern over noise generated by a local aggregate company in the early morning hours led to an application for exemption from the Central Manitoulin noise bylaw and a spirited debate at the Central Manitoulin council table, despite general consensus on providing the business with some relief from the bylaw’s provisions.

The original motion was to provide C. Pearson and Son Excavating and Haulage with a six-month exemption to the noise bylaw (2020-13, section 6.1.1.) allowing them to start business earlier in the day than the bylaw permits. Under section 2.2 the motion would have the bylaw in force only from 11 pm to 6 am.

Councillor Dale Scott said he was unsure the 6 am start would be effective for the business’ needs, noting that farmers often have to start their farm equipment in the winter at least an hour-and-a-half before starting work. “I would like to see it set at 5 am,” he said.

Councillor Derek Stephens voiced his opposition to dictating to any business owner as to how they operate their business. He noted that during the past construction season, with high temperatures involved during the afternoon, many businesses started work very early in the morning to avoid the heat. He said he was disturbed that a business with 50 years’ experience in the community would be hamstrung by complaints from two neighbours. He noted that the neighbour close to the company’s yards, which he described as bitter business rivals, had no complaints and suggested that council should not be poking their noses into private business operations.

Councillor Rose Diebolt said she had to agree with Councillor Stephens and questioned the time constraint.

Some confusion was cleared up over whether a time restriction was called for. Asked for clarification by Councillor Steve Shaffer, CAO/Clerk Ruth Frawley indicated that her reading of the noise bylaw only required a set time of duration for the exemption, not specific times.

Councillor Stephens interjected that the Foodland operation in Mindemoya had been given a blanket exemption.

Councillor Al Tribinevicius said he was concerned about the time restrictions as well, particularly if there were to be a significant cold snap.

In the end, council passed a motion “that council grant C. Pearson and Son Excavating and Haulage an exemption to bylaw 2020-13 (noise bylaw) under section 6.1.1. for the duration of six months, with the condition under section 2.2 being waived and no restrictive time be set.”