Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sound and Fury

So, there has been a little fury over the draft noise bylaw that Town staff proposed at last week’s General Committee meeting.

You see, the Municipal Act allows for Towns to pass bylaws to prohibit and regulate noise. Most people accept that it is in the public interest to regulate noise and noise levels to preserve, protect, and promote public health, safety, welfare, and peace and quiet.

The existing Noise Bylaw was enacted in September 1981 with a very minor revision (to change the penalty clause) in February 1993. While it is a comprehensive bylaw, I believe it contains two major drawbacks.

First, the bylaw uses a map to delineate between the rules in two areas – residential and agricultural. As you can imagine, the Town has grown considerably in the last 30 years and the map is out-of-date. The map does not include residential growth areas like Timber Creek, Timsdale, Chestnut Ridge, or Martha Court.

And, because it is based on a map, it is not a “living” bylaw. What do I mean? Well, the proposed bylaw does not use a map, but rather relies on properties that are zoned Residential (in any of their forms) in the zoning bylaw. If approved, all residentially zoned properties would need to adhere to rules for the “Residential Area.” If a property’s zoning changes, the rules for that property change.

Second, the existing bylaw makes no allowance for noises produced on commercial or industrial properties. That’s largely because it only has two areas – residential and agricultural. In contrast, the proposed bylaw has two classes – residential and non-residential. The non-residential (termed “all other areas”) includes all other property classes like agricultural, industrial and commercial. As you would expect, noise is tightly restricted in the residentially zoned properties. The proposed bylaw allows more latitude in other areas.

The new bylaw removes some antiquated provisions. For example, the regulation of “snow making equipment” is removed since Lookout hasn’t had a ski run for many years.

In addition, since society is more environmentally conscious now, the proposed bylaw allows a maximum of 30 minutes for commercial vehicle idling in non-residential areas; it would ban such idling in residential areas.

Please note that the bylaw is only a draft. It has not been passed.

In fact, Council is looking for your feedback and input by March 1 to develop an appropriate bylaw. I would encourage you to review the draft at and I look forward to your constructive ideas.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Do Not Enter" Gone For Good

It’s been bugging me for a couple of years. And, maybe you never even noticed it, but subliminally it may have had an effect. If it did, it was the incorrect message for our Town Hall.

What am I talking about? The “Do Not Enter” sign in front of Pelham Town Hall!

You see, last week Charter Commercial Contractors of St. Catharines began work on the addition / renovation to Town Hall. And, last Thursday, Dean Allison, our Member of Parliament, Don Ward, Charter’s President, all of Pelham Council, and I ceremonially broke ground on the 1,200 square foot addition to Pelham Town Hall.

We are extending the life expectancy of our municipal building to ultimately provide better, more efficient service to you and your neighbours.


While the addition will become the Town’s new Council Chambers will also allow for a multi-use meeting space. This flexible, fully-accessible area will be available for community groups to use to the fullest. Since it will be easily adaptable, it could be used for public meetings, open houses, workshops, training sessions, small group discussions, and a multitude of other gatherings.

The renovation will convert the former Chamber into three offices and another meeting room. While we re-organized and renovated most of the rest of Town Hall over the last two years, this final renovation will ultimately create the space for a couple of much-needed and fully-budgeted staff. The first, a Construction Inspector, will oversee Town infrastructure projects and residential developments to ensure they follow all Town guidelines and rules. The second, a Computer IT Specialist, will help bring our computer systems into the 21st Century.

Finally, the addition will allow for the construction of a second floor on top of the Chamber in case it will be required in the future.

The project will cost an estimated $380,000 of which $160,000 is provided through the federal government’s Community Adjustment Fund (CAF). The funding will help provide work for local workers and provide a boost to Niagara’s economy over the period of construction.

But what about the “Do Not Enter” sign?

Well, the addition will extend the building to the North, and will remove the sweeping, curved driveway around the building. You will recall that that driveway was “One Way Only.”

With that driveway gone, we will also remove the “Do Not Enter” sign. Now, the message will be correct for your Town Hall – “Please enter.”