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Sleepless nights in Thornhill

Noisy neighbour terrorizing Thornhill must be stopped, says letter writer
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To the editor,

Since August 6, close neighbours and I have endured entire nights sleepless while a new resident hammers, drills, blacksmiths, throws a basketball from wall to wall in his quonset, or idles his ATV 24 minutes without moving it, then roaring up and down the frontage road for an hour or more.

One night culminated in chainsawing at midnight despite Kitimat-Stikine regional district’s noise bylaw #265 adopted in 1988 prohibiting between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. “any noise which disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment and comfort of a neighbourhood”.

An angry man’s shout, “That’s enough!”, cut off the chainsawing as though he’d been clubbed.

That’s more enforcement than we’ve gotten from calling RCMP.

Though they are authorized to enforce the RDKS bylaw with a ticket, if they have sufficient proof — have heard the disturbing noise, have video or audio evidence of the offence, are willing to make a statement.

“Under the by-law, penalties range from a fine of not less than $100 or more than $2,000 for the first offence, and not less than $300 or more than $2,000 for second and subsequent offences.”

It’s my hunch no one has ever been ticketed, fined, or summoned to court.

A gap in RDKS bylaws ties the hands of the bylaw officer. An automatic bylaw could bridge that enforcement gap. Currently, costs of legal counsel stymie any chance of RDKS taking a case to court.

Also evidence from residents in the form of written noise complaints is needed before any meaningful enforcement by RDKS can occur; more sleep-deprived complainants must submit a noise log, and be willing to testify in court should it ever come to that.

So far neighbours choose to lose sleep. Without written evidence from at least three complaining neighbours, we can all look forward to losing sleep for years. Or move.

Claudette Sandecki,

Thornhill, B.C.


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