Coldstream is making some noise over its own bylaw.
As complaints around farm noise crop up, the noise regulation bylaw is being reviewed.
“In the future here since we have more orchards going in, we want to make sure something exists in there,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.
But the Right to Farm Act is limiting what Coldstream can control, including regulating noisemakers for crop protection.
Since Coldstream can’t regulate them, Garlick suggests that any residents who have concerns about noise makers, helicopters used to dry cherries or wind turbines to go directly to the farm industry review board.
“People have to go through that process of making applications and being heard,” said Garlick. “We can’t do that. You can do it if you are affected by it.”
There were a total of 30 noise complaints received between May 1 and Sept. 30, 2016 (peak period of complaints). Of those, 10 were attributed to industrial and seven to agricultural activities, chiefly in the east end of the district. The remaining complaints were related to construction, commercial event, dogs, or party/music.
“Based on the above numbers and statistics gathered, the district does not appear to have a ‘noise problem,’” reads Coldstream’s noise regulation bylaw report. “Although there does not appear to be a widespread noise problem, there are locations in the community that are noisier than others.”
One cause of incresed noise complaints last year was the new pellet plant which started up in Lavington. Increased agricultural activies have also taken place in recent years.
“The noise that results from equipment used, frequency of use and an overall greater intensification of farming have led to a rise in the complaints,” said Keri-Ann Austin, director of corporate administration, in her report.
“Coldstream has a large agricultural sector and is an important agricultural area in the North Okanagan. Many of the practices that the farmers utilized are considered ‘normal farm practices’ and they are protected from nuisance under the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act.”
Unlike most nuisances, those created by farming are exempted by the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act. Where an activity is found to conform to normal farm practices as set out in the Act, the operator will not be found liable in nuisance for odour, noise, dust or other disturbance resulting from the operation.
Meanwhile, Garlick says the interpretation of noises depends on the individual.
“To one person it will be a sound, to another person it will be a noise.”