Thursday 5 December 2013

Let's make some noise!

Thank goodness for today's break from Winter: it gave me the opportunity to swap out the all-seasons for proper winter tires (the November squalls caught me unawares).  If you drive, make sure you have your vehicle properly equipped for our the impending snow and ice.  Today's respite will not last long, so I hope you can take advantage of today's higher temperatures to do whatever needs doing before the snow's return.

In my previous post about the proposed removal of mandatory composting at festivals in Victoria Park, I mentioned that we received much more information beyond that important topic. On the evening of Tuesday, October 22, the Special Events Public Consultation Meeting took place at the Civic Garden Complex.  Scott Stafford and Krista Kearns of the Community Services Department did an excellent job of going over the policies and procedures that will change in the 2013 manual for the 2014 season (with Ms. Kearns's assistant taking minutes)

Ms. Kearns informed us that 180 events (including road closures and events at off-city property) in London attracted over one million people (locals and visitors) over the past year.  Of those, four events broke the noise policy outlined in section 13 of the manual by exceeding 90 decibels (dB): Rockin' New Year's Eve, Pride London Festival, Sunfest, and Rock the Park.  This means that they lost their $500 security for exceeding the noise level, and left themselves subject to by-law prosecution.

Ms. Kearns also announced that two of the organizers of Rockin' New Year's Eve, Ed Holder and Bruce McGuffin, made a request to have a complete exemption for noise during their event.  The existing exemption for this event reads:

  • New Year's Eve Event will be limited to the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight
  • Announcements for the gathering of participants, on your mark, get set go and the singing of the national anthem at sporting events (not sound level not to exceed 90 db between 8 am - 9 am). All other amplified sound (ie: music) could not begin until 9 am)

It sounds like a reasonable request:  a vast majority of folks celebrate New Year's Eve in some fashion.  Music and other exciting noise coming from the bandshell to bring in the new year should pose no threat to anybody's enjoyment of the downtown.

A public participation meeting to discuss the proposed noise exemption (click for report from City staff) for the Rockin' New Year's Eve event at Victoria Park takes place on Monday, December 9 at 7:00 PM (19h00) at the Community and Protective Services Committee meeting, taking place at City Hall.  If you wish to have your input, don't miss this meeting.

Also of note from this meeting, a gentleman who lives near the river in Blackfriars (making 66% of the audience residents of that neighbourhood - him and myself) suggested that Gibbons Park get used for festivals as an additional option.  Of the 92 days in June, July, and August, Victoria Park hosts events for 44 of those days.  The events schedule allows time (an "administrative week") to give the grounds a chance to recuperate.  Existing turf protection requires replacement, which allows this extended use of the park.

What do you think about opening Gibbons Park to festivals, to either give relief to Victoria Park or to facilitate even more events?

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