Concert noise from village plaza sparks complaints, concerns 

Staff refining sound system in response

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The free village summer concerts aren't music to everyone's ears.

Municipal communications manager Michele Comeau confirmed this week that there have been "a few complaints" since the Whistler Outdoor Concert series launched in 2011 at Whistler Olympic Plaza.

It is not clear how many complaints are on the record or where they're coming from.

But one local musician/event organizer, and regular Pique contributor, has raised some concerns in a letter to council.

Though he loves the idea of the concerts, tobias van Veen (sic), has concerns about the noise and its impact on human health and wildlife and is asking if anything is being done to reduce sound levels.

"I see it as a health issue, as noise pollution is proven to cause increased stress among humans and wildlife both; persistent loud noise is proven to disturb animal/bird migratory pathways, nesting, and other behaviours," he said.

In looking for ways to solve the problem van Veen asked, among other things:

"Is the RMOW going to look into alleviating noise pollution from the Plaza through sound baffling/redirection? Maybe do something about it? Solutions do exist... proper sound baffling would allow the concerts to continue, but with less disturbance to residents and local wildlife."

Staff is taking steps to mitigate the noise levels with speaker repositioning and other measures, confirmed Comeau.

The other point raised by van Veen was if it's a level playing field in the municipality. Other clubs and venues have to abide by the noise bylaw. Is the RMOW subject to that same bylaw, he asks?

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW)'s noise bylaw states that no person shall: "operate or play any musical instrument, radio, stereophonic equipment, or other device for the production or amplification of sound, or permit such devices to be operated or played, in the Resort Municipality in such a manner as to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity."

The bylaw also states that council believes that the following noises or sounds are objectionable: "any amplified music or speech which is audible between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. outside the premises on the real property from which it emanates or is reproduced, or at any boundary of the real property from which is emanates or is reproduced."

Comeau said the sound system at the plaza is modest compared to other concert venues and staff is continuing to refine and adjust the sound system in response to complaints.

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