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Tougher rules for contractors to crack down on construction noise in Port Moody

City reduces hours for construction noise amidst concerns that further restrictions could cause delays in construction projects
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Construction cranes tower over Port Moody's Suter Brook Village neighbourhood.

Port Moody residents will get a little more respite from construction noise.

Tuesday, council approved amendments to the city's noise bylaw that will restrict construction activity to the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

Currently, construction sites in Port Moody can operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday. No work is allowed on Sundays or statutory holidays.

The changes are a response to a motion put forth last October by Coun. Steve Milani who said the “long hours of continuous noise do not allow sufficient time for residents to experience peace in their day.”

While the new hours for Saturday work aren’t as restrictive as the 9 to 5 limitation Milani had initially proposed, he said the 9 to 6 workday will give residents a break without causing undue delays to construction projects.

“I believe that’s more than sufficient.”

In a report to council, Port Moody’s manager of building, bylaw and licensing, Robyn MacLeod, said developers indicated a 9 to 5 workday on Saturdays would force some job sites to operate on a five-day work week instead of six, extending the time it might take to finish projects.

As well, MacLeod recommended no changes be made to the maximum $10,000 fine levied for violations of the city’s construction noise bylaw.

Milani had suggested a fine structure of $500 for each hour construction crews breach the rules for up to 12 hours, and $1,000 an hour after to give the bylaw more teeth, but MacLeod said that would violate the province’s community charter which regulates municipal governance.

However, contractors will be charged a fee of $500 when they apply for exemptions to the sound bylaw. That’s double staff’s recommendation.

“I figure a stiffer fee was warranted,” said Milani, who proposed the amendment.

MacLeod said such a fee will deter contractors from applying for “frivolous or unnecessary” exemptions, and also help cover the city’s costs.

As well, she pointed out in her report, staff has already made several changes to the way sound exemptions are granted, including:

• implementation of an online application process at least five days before the required exemption

• a review of the exemption request to determine if its justified as well as explore ways minimize its impact on residents

• increase the notice to residents from 24 hours to 48 hours

• notify council of any exemptions that have been granted

Port Coquitlam allows construction to occur between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, while the District of North Vancouver, as well as the Township of Langley, limit Saturday construction to between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.