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Wednesday, February 8, 2012 • COMOX VALLEY RECORD

‘Machine gun’ noise from college called ‘intolerable’ Renée Andor Record Staff

A delegation regarding noise from North Island College’s trades building was brought before Courtenay council Monday. Area resident Bev Skwernuik requested action from the City because she said the steps NIC has taken to reduce the noise have not worked and the sound study is flawed. “We have not yet seen action from the City into how they can remedy the situation either by enforcing bylaws or reviewing the building improvements by the college,” said Skwernuik. “This is a special situation. We are concerned that the college operates without scrutiny in this regard.” The trades building was completed about a year ago, and residents have expressed concerns about noise since the education programs started, according to a City staff report. NIC hired acoustical engineers, Wakefield Acoustics, to test the noise and make recommendations in May. In the fall, NIC made some improvements including covering the north chain link wall with a signboard material, according to a letter from the college to City staff.

Wakefield Acoustics retested in November, and reported reductions of 6-9 dBAI or 35 to 50 per cent reductions, according to the letter. Skwernuik said she sent a letter to the college in early January stating that the noise was still a problem for residents, and she said the college responded saying that no further action will be taken. She noted that one resident said the noise is now worse with the changes, and that it sounds like a “machine gun.” She also pointed out that according to the report, 16 students were actively working when tests were conducted in May, whereas only six to 10 were actively working during the testing in November. She said she wants the work area fully enclosed and the City to implement new legislation for closer monitoring of the college for possible expansion in the future. “We would like to have some form of legislation adopted which allows the City to have some ability to regulate and oversee the design and construction (of further noise barriers), and development plans of the college,” said Skwernuik. She also requested

New ferry on run Record Staff The Queen of Burnaby has been temporarily removed from the Comox—Powell River run while undergoing mechanical repairs. The smaller North Island Princess will serve as the replacement vessel on a modified schedule for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It can carry 49 vehicles and 140 passengers. Limited catering facilities are available. There is no elevator service and washrooms are limited to the upper passenger area. BC Ferries encourages those with vehicles to travel via Saltery Bay/ Earls Cove, Langdale/ Horseshoe Bay and Horseshoe Bay/Departure Bay. BC Ferries is providing a limited 15-passenger shuttle service between the Little River terminal and Comox or Courtenay to assist foot passengers travelling to appoint-

ments. For further information visit www. or call 1-888-BCFERRY.

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that the council improve how noise complaints are handled, and that more specific requirements be implemented regarding permitted land use by institutions. Skwernuik plans to hire another acoustical firm to review the report independently, for which she will pay $1,000 out of her own pocket. She also sent out audio/video clips capturing the noise to councillors to show them what the sound

is like for residents. Coun. Doug Hillian said he listened to the audio/video clip and called the noise “intolerable.” He questioned what the City could do besides passing a resolution to continue monitoring the noise, and wanted to know whether the noise he heard in the clip was allowable within the noise bylaw. City manager of corporate administration John Ward called the issue complicated and said the City is still

investigating. “I don’t have a clear answer for Coun. Hillian tonight as far as noise bylaw, we are still looking at it,” said Ward, adding that a report will come before council soon. Mayor Larry Jangula added that this particular issue is new for the City. “Generally speaking, we don’t have any provisions for it, exceptions in the bylaw, for construction at a college,” said Jangula. “It’s something we just

have never run into before so it’s a rather new issue for us.” A motion was carried for the City to

continue monitoring the noise related concerns of residents in the area.




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Wednesday, February 8 2012, Comox Valley Record  

Wednesday, February 8 2012 issue of the Comox Valley Record newspaper as it appeared in print. For more online, all the time, see www.comoxv...