Port Coquitlam residents will no longer need to rush home, eat dinner and cut the grass before 7 p.m.
They now have two extra hours until 9 p.m. to complete those tasks after city council officially reverted its recently amended noise bylaw that included the evening cut-off time for lawn mowers and other power tools.
Last Friday (July 29), PoCo Mayor Brad West introduced the motion to repeal the new "restrictive" rules, to which councillors unanimously voted in favour, after hearing several comments and complaints from the public.
"The reality is that, for many people who would get off work at maybe 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., the idea of being able to get home in time to be able to cut your lawn before 7 p.m. is just not feasible, especially in the summer months," said West during the special council meeting, noting he personally has never heard concerns from local residents about "rogue lawn mowing."
"It's lighter out later. It's hot out, as we all know, and so people are cutting their lawns a little bit later."
Prior to the meeting, West explained he was away for the bylaw's initial amendment on July 19. The goal of the previous change was to give bylaw officers more tools to address dozens of complaints the city receives each year.
Port Coquitlam had 145 calls of noise disturbances in 2021 — 144 in 2020 — including 66 related to residential and neighbourhood housekeeping activities.
The city defines problem noise as continuous noise, which is any noise or sound lasting longer than three minutes, or occurring continually, sporadically or erratically but totalling more than three minutes in any 15-minute period of time.
West, in using his statutory authority for the bylaw's reconsideration, also extended the general noise cut-off time to 11 p.m. — an hour longer than the previously amended 10 p.m. curfew.
"One of the great pastimes in our city is people being able to gather with family and friends in their backyard for a barbecue and socializing," he said.
"I think the previous times we had around that worked very well. Yes, there was a small number of complaints around noise... but I think the previous time frame was one that [was] way more appropriate, one our community was used to and, I think, served us quite well."
Noises that disturbs "the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity" between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. the next morning could result in a $5,000 fine at minimum.
However, the city states noise that's deemed "unreasonable" outside of those hours may be subject to bylaw enforcement.
This includes loud music or speech, loud domestic animals or a household device (i.e., air conditioner, heat pump, ventilation system) that exceed 45 decibels (dB) at night and 50 during the day.