Boaters and motorcyclists had best keep the growl of their engines to a dull roar because Kelowna city council is looking into a noise bylaw with teeth.
“We get a lot of complaints about noisy motorcycles and boats,” said Supt. Bill McKinnon, in his monthly presentation to city politicians.
Unfortunately, he explained the legislation guiding how police deal with noisy vehicles is ineffective, so McKinnon hit up council for some further power.
“I’d like to ask council draft a new noise bylaw, similar to the noise bylaw in Edmonton,” he said, noting that boats, motorcycles and drivers with booming stereos would be the focus of the amendment, and subsequent $250 penalty.
“(Implementation) would require investment in decibel readers and training, but it’s the right direction forward,” he said.
If Kelowna were to mirror the Edmonton bylaw, which has been in effect for one year, police would be able to ticket anyone whose vehicle is producing 92 decibels of noise while idling. When driving, the maximum acceptable noise would be 96 decibels.
Motorcycles and boats with stock factory parts shouldn’t be a problem, as all on-road bikes are built to certain factory noise standards. The bylaw aims to crack down on bikes with custom exhaust systems that increase the bike’s noise. It’s a change in tack that council looked on favourably.
Shepherd said she, like McKinnon, has heard heaps of complaints about noisy motorists, both on land and water, and Edmonton’s bylaw is already on her desk.
Hobson said he has concerns about implementation of penalties due to the fact boat drivers can muffle their noise, upon command. That said, he’d welcome the change.
“This weekend there was a boat across the lake (from his home) and with our windows closed, we couldn’t hear each other,” he said.
City clerk Stephen Fleming said the city could start the process to amend the bylaw by the July 11 council meeting. All it would require would be the addition of a section about decibel reading levels. While it’s a city bylaw, the RCMP would be in control of issuing the fines.