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Noise and Light Pollution

See Also:
Noise: How much is too much?
Complaints Process: No Results
Noise & Health

The noise and light emissions of anchored vessels are of such a massive scale that they destroy the unique natural and peaceful character of our islands and create an industrial nightmare.

Residents in the vicinity of 3-4 km from these anchorages described the lights reaching their houses as 'brighter than city street lights', and 'blinding as if under interrogation'.

The roaring rumbling of engines or generators is constant. Sometimes 80db for people nearby, 2-4 km away often 50-60db.

Sometimes windows are vibrating. People suffer from sleep deprivation. You cannot open a window at night. You cannot enjoy gardening, reading a book, listening to the birds, going for a walk, kayaking, or sitting on your patio outside.

Chocolate Beach, Beddis Beach, and Price Beach are now polluted with industrial background noise - you look directly at anchored freighters or tankers.

Will they put an anchorage near you very soon? Are you exposed to negative health effects from low frequency noise even if you currently don't hear freighter sounds?

Assessing Noise: How much is too much?

In residential areas, Noise Bylaws usually limit noises to a certain amount of Decibels (dB, or dBA).

For example the City of Victoria limits noise in quiet neighbourhoods to 55dBA during daytime, and to 45dBA at night.

Please note that this is for living in a noisy city, and for short-term noise rather than ongoing or chronic noise.

If the noise contains low frequencies from 31.5 to 125 Hz, the corrected limits are 45dB during the day and 35dB at night.

Exposure to chronic noise has been found harmful to health, particularly above 50dB.

Salt Spring Noise Bylaw:
No person shall make, cause to be made, or continue to make any noise or sound in the Electoral Area which creates a noise that disturbs or tends to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons at or near the source of such noise or sound.

Complaints Process: No Results

Basically none of the anchoring vessels arriving are following the protocol to reduce their light and noise emissions. The Port Authority Vancouver is helpless in this matter, because the participation of the shipping industry in this protocol is on a voluntary basis. Violators cannot be fined.

The Port Authority Vancouver does not want to talk to residents anymore. They started railroading all complaints into a website form. First the average citizen is turned away by being forced to know the offending vessel's exact name. Then the complaint is simply forwarded to the ship's agent, without any further follow-up.

Result: Complaints have little or no effect.

While initially it was possible to reach a Program Director at Transport Canada in Vancover, all complaints are now directed to an anonymous email that stands for a 'National Anchorages Initiative', which apparently is funded by $500,000 of taxpayers' money to identify and enforce new anchorage sites.

No wonder that residents are frustrated, and are discouraged to report incidences or complain. 

It is time to make your voice heard: Take Action

See Next: Noise & Health

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