Giving the city an earful over traffic noise

About a year ago I wrote a letter to the Penticton Western News regarding the issue of motorcycles being operated without adequate mufflers and the enforcement of unnecessary vehicle noise violations in Penticton. I promised to research this matter further and here’s what I found out:

The deputy minister of public safety and solicitor-general initially told me to talk to the Mounties, as the ministry has no responsibility in overseeing policing functions in Penticton. In subsequent letters from me to the minister, I pointed out that indeed, policing functions do come under his direction as this is clearly written in the ministry’s own mission statement. Ministers of the Solicitor-General changed during my correspondence and finally Minister Rich Coleman responded to my query.

The RCMP is acting as the city police in Penticton in a contract agreement with the federal government, and in addition to their federal and provincial police duty, it is responsible for the enforcement of Sections 7.1A and 7.31 of the Provincial Motor Vehicle Regulations. This is not a city bylaw, it is a provincial law. In his letter to me, Solicitor-General Coleman states that the RCMP issued one ticket in 2009 for ‘inadequate muffler’ and seven  tickets for ‘unnecessary noise’ in Penticton and area. Minister Coleman said, “7.1A can include such infractions of tires squealing, loud stereos, as well as loud mufflers.” The ministry also reported that the Penticton Bylaw Enforcement Department has the authority to enforce these two sections of the PMVR.

I recently returned from several months overseas, including a visit to Vietnam. I saw thousands of motorcycles moving in a never-ending stream of heavy traffic 24 hours a day, and rarely did I hear a loud motorcycle, although there are a few horn toots used to avoid collisions. The Saigon police were busy; I saw them impound several motorcycles on the spot for equipment violations — the police have big trucks to haul away the seized motorcycles. The streets of Saigon and Hanoi are much quieter than they are in Penticton, despite significantly higher populations. Why is this? Are there not any big trucks in Penticton?

Tongue-in-cheek aside, the RCMP consume over $7 million of the city’s budget (city figures), and it’s time for the citizens to ask a few questions of city council about the contract with the RCMP and to determine what we are paying for and what we are getting in service. In respect to the problem with loud motorcycles and vehicles, Mayor Dan Ashton, MLA Bill Barisoff, MP Dan Albas’s office and Insp. Haugli are privy to all my correspondence with the ministry and they are fully aware of this matter.

This letter is not intended as a slight against the members on the road everyday, who I believe are doing their best with the resources provided to them and the policy they must work under. This matter lies with our city council, as they are the entity in charge of police funding and contract oversight.

If you believe there is a problem with loud motorcycles and other vehicles in our community, or have other policing matters of concern to you, I suggest that you clip this letter from the paper and hand it to Mayor Ashton or any member of city council and tell them what you think. It’s time they get an earful from us, just don’t do it on Main Street while a loud motorcycle goes by; I tried it with the mayor and he couldn’t hear me.

Murray Mason





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