Residents from West Earltown have requested the county implement a noise bylaw after a motocross track opened in the area.
Wayne Edgar and Stephanie Banks made a presentation to the Municipality of Colchester County recently regarding their concerns.
“We are here representing 16 individuals from nine households that are severely impacted by noise from a commercial motocross track that’s been recently built in our community,” Edgar said at the beginning of the public presentation. “We also have a number of residents from our communities who are supporting our presentation and are very concerned.”
At Edgar’s request, the more than 30 people sitting in the council gallery stood for support.
During the presentation, Edgar and Banks ran through a slideshow of information, which included background on farming property on the Ferguson Brook Road. It was purchased in October last year, and the new owner opened a motocross track this past September.
“Noise from this has been very disruptive and very, very loud, I can’t stress that enough,” Edgar said, stating similar noise levels have been proven to have a negative impact on one’s health. “Some residents have been forced to leave the property during events due to the noise.”
Others, he said, can’t stay because of farming operations and other responsibilities.
Since the track began, Edgar said he and others have spoken with the Colchester District RCMP, however have been told there’s no legislation in place to enforce or stop the activity. Edgar said the 16 residents have also expressed their concerns directly and through a hand-delivered letter to the owner of the track – Kelly Spencer – but have yet to receive a response to their concerns.
In a phone interview, Spencer said he’s following any guidelines he has to in order to go ahead with the track.
“It’s for the families, and the children in the area,” he said. “There are no races being held – at this point it’s just a riding facility.”
Spencer said he and his family are all into motocross, and his son has been riding his entire life. That’s why he created the track, which runs through about 10 acres at the back of his 140-acre property.
“If they do enact a noise bylaw, I will willingly and happily change anything I need to change to adhere to that bylaw,” he said.
Since opening the track, Spencer said there have been four days where riders have utilized it, with one local family using it during the week.
“It’s through the community and for the community, for everyone to come together and do this together,” he said, adding the plan for the future is to have it open for locals twice a month.
Showing a map of the area during the presentation, Banks pointed out some of the neighbouring houses, including hers on Spiddle Hill. She explained she and neighbour Tim Tattrie downloaded a noise level recording app for their phones and provided data to members of council.
“These are preliminary noise level readings – they don’t necessarily represent worst readings,” she said, pointing out average noise readings, max readings, and peak. “The maximum noise reading is weighted by the time, while peak level is the single most loudest sound recorded.”
The average decibel level at two of the homes were 72, while the third registered at 77. The lowest maximum level was at Banks’ residence, at 80, while 92 and 95 decibels were the maximums at the Edgar and Tattrie homes, respectively. The peak for all three was 99-100 decibels.
While researching noise or disturbance bylaws in other areas in the province, Edgar said four counties out of 24 looked at don’t have anything in place. They also noted the Department of Environment and Labour suggests a daytime level of 65 decibels as an appropriate limit where people reside.
Following the presentation, councilors were able to ask their questions or give comments, and Coun. Tom Taggart said one of the challenges council always faces when it comes to new bylaws is the unintended consequences.
Following questions from council, a motion was passed to have the matter referred to staff, who will look into all options open to council, and then council can make decisions from those options.