A new poll commissioned by the Toronto Noise Coalition (www.torontonoisecoalition.ca) finds that noise is a very important issue to Toronto residents. The poll, conducted by Public Square Research (www.publicsquareresearch.ca) finds that the majority of Torontonians (72%) are interested in the issue of noise control with less than half of respondents (48%) stating that Toronto is a quiet city. Despite the respondents’ interest in noise issues, only 8 percent were aware that the City of Toronto was reviewing its current noise bylaws. The poll also found that while relatively few people had actually called the city to complain about a noise issue (12%), fully two thirds of those were unsatisfied with the City’s response.
On May 19th, at 9:30 am the City of Toronto will hold a public meeting about the revisions it is proposing to Toronto’s current noise bylaw.
“When you considered that only 8% of Torontonians even know that such an important bylaw review is underway,” said Ian Carmichael, spokesperson for the Toronto Noise Coalition, “it is clear that the City is way too far ahead in its decision making process.”
The poll of 600 people, 300 from the downtown area and another 300 from suburban areas (Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York) found an overwhelming support for greater protection from noise. Fully four in ten say that the city is not doing enough when it comes to noise, and an overwhelming majority support greater protections from noise.
Carmichael said, “The City has a responsibility to communicate with the majority of residents and business people in Toronto who are very concerned about noise and yet unaware that a new bylaw is being drafted.”
The City will be publishing a draft of its proposed changes to Toronto noise bylaw on May 12th, 7 days in advance of its public meeting.
Carmichael said, “The City of Toronto seems to be pushing for a revised bylaw based upon assumptions that our polling results demonstrate are incorrect.”
The Toronto Noise Coalition sees the City’s current plan to revise the noise bylaw as driven largely by economic development objectives. However, the City’s analysis is flawed and short sighted.
“The idea that a vibrant music scene or condo construction must preclude stringent noise controls is absurd.” Carmichael said.
While we obviously support plans to improve our local economy,” said Carmichael. “Such plans must be balanced with quality of life, public health, and perhaps most importantly, the conscious choice of the people of Toronto.
The Toronto Noise Coalition believes that New York City is the urban model that Toronto should be emulating.
“It is rather convenient to point to New York when people want to build another condo tower,” Carmichael said, “but those same people fail to understand the regulatory structure that makes New York City livable.”
The Toronto Noise Coalition is a broad-based grassroots organization with members drawn from residents associations across Toronto. It has been established to foster public support for the creation of an overall noise management strategy before the City establishes either a new or revised bylaw.
“The polling data has confirmed the need for our work,” said Carmichael. “People want to know more about how the city is going to protect them from unwanted noise.”
The coalition commissioned Public Square Research to conduct the poll. It is available for review on the coalition’s website (www.torontonoisecoalition.ca). All participants in the poll are members of the Angus Reid Forum online panel. The survey of 27 questions was fielded from April 26 through April 28, 2016.