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LETTER: Area resident sounds off on Friday Harbour noise levels

'They completely ignored the fact we had just provided the facts,' says Innisfil resident
Innisfil's Friday Harbour is shown in a file photo.

BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled ''Absolutely critical' noise exemption granted to Friday Harbour,' published May 9.

I’m writing to update you on my perception of the recent Innisfil town council meeting. Feel free to watch the YouTube recording to form your own perceptions.

1. Our residents presented to council and were very clear our objective was to just turn down the volume, nothing more. Council and Friday Harbour portrayed us as wanting to stop their music and their events. (ie. fashion shows, car shows, etc.)

2. We repeated that we wanted a compromise, just on the noise. Friday Harbour was and is not willing to compromise, and in fact asked and got additions to the nights they can have unrestricted noise.

3. Friday Harbour says they had made changes as early as 2022 to mitigate some of the noise. I pointed out that the noise in 2023 was louder that 2022, so whatever they did was a failure.

4. The mayor equated our problem to people who complain about lawnmower noise. That is totally offensive and very dismissive to our repeated complaints over two years.

5. The deputy mayor said it’s our problem since we don’t complain enough. Again, another offensive insult, especially since he attended a meeting with numerous residents to hear our concerns. Many of us have tried to use the bylaw number to complain late in the evening. Sometimes it is not answered, or, according to some residents I spoke to last year, they did not respond for about two hours. A totally ineffective procedure that is there in name only.

6. Council agreed to another process whereby we call a Friday Harbour number to start the process. This is like calling a bank robber in the middle of a heist and telling him there’s a robbery in progress.

7. One member of council sidetracked the discussion to focus on “events.” We never asked them to stop any events. Again, just another distraction from the real issue of noise levels during music concerts and dance club nights.

8. My neighbour presented a six-month recording of the sound levels that he conducted last summer. It clearly indicated that what we are hearing at our homes is excessively loud, high-decibel noise. Very few questions. Seemed to me like most of council was not interested in facts and they wanted to move on quickly.

9. Council later in the meeting talked about needing fact-based information and fact-based solutions. They completely ignored the fact we had just provided the facts.

10. Council added a statement to the Friday Harbour request that there be a process to report violations to the exemption, and that Friday Harbour could have its noise exemption removed if they violated the agreement. However, noise levels are not included in the agreement. The only thing we are asking them to do is limit the noise levels. Since there are no noise level limits, in theory, Friday Harbour cannot break the agreement and therefore can’t have the exemption revoked based on noise.

11. One councillor made a good suggestion that a sound meter/recorder be installed in the community to measure the ongoing noise levels. The net of the answer was no. First, it costs money. Second, the town cannot buy devices to respond to every noise complaint. What they totally ignored was the fact our neighbour bought one — if asked, I’m positive he would agree to continue recording on their behalf. They would just need their engineers to assess the device to ensure it operates at the appropriate specifications for sound monitoring and recording.

12. Friday Harbour referenced other resorts offering entertainment and events, but they never discussed, nor were they asked by council, if they were near residential communities like ours. Nor were they asked if other resorts had outdoor music venues with rock concert levels of sound. Council, in my opinion, failed to ask simple, basic questions to assess the comparison to other resorts.

13. Friday Harbour also spoke to the need for the exemption for its financial success. Many of us partake in the events. Our only request is to turn down the volume on Friday and Saturday nights. 

14. Council reminded us at the beginning to keep up decorum. However, they did not stop three Friday Harbour supporters in front of us from interrupting/heckling one of our speakers. And council allowed it to happen again.

15. Four council members asked some intelligent questions and were interested in listening to the resident’s concerns. Only three voted against the exemption. The remainder in my opinion, asked softball questions, or distracted from our only issue.

16. In my opinion, we were treated with disrespect and some of their comments were insulting to our community. Thanks to Couns. Saunders, Drodge and Richardson for at least asking some thoughtful and intelligent questions to properly try to understand the issue of the noise levels, which the other council members tried to avoid.

Bob Dudley