Kingsview area residents seek ‘urgent protection’ against construction noise
‘Robust noise bylaw’ sought to regulate ‘rapid impact compaction”
Residents around the Kingsview residential development near Maple Bay are asking North Cowichan council to develop a “robust noise bylaw” to protect against incessant pounding associated with new housing construction.
At issue is noise generated from “rapid impact compaction,” (RIC), a method employed to prepare the ground for construction.
According to the Keller Group, “the world's largest geotechnical specialist contractor,” RIC “densifies shallow, granular soils, using a hydraulic hammer, which repeatedly strikes an impact plate on the ground surface. It is used to increase bearing capacity and decrease settlement.”
Kingsview area residents first complained about RIC in 2021. At that time, municipal staff said the work complied with the current noise bylaw and that the method saved months over conventional methods and machines.
“Our community endured and suffered from this noise for months,” Nancy Dower, a director of the Quamichan Lake Neighbourhood Association and retired pediatrician, told council on October 4.
Dower said some Kingsview families found the noise so unbearable they moved, while for others “short term rentals dried up.” Shift workers also lost sleep. Zoom conferences were impossible for those living closest to the noise.
Residents fear the cycle will begin anew in early 2024 as housing development continues up Kingsview.
“We need protection urgently…Please make this a priority,” Dower said.
She said decibels are just one measurement of the impact of noise on people. Other factors include intensity, frequency, duration, predictability, complexity, etc.
Currently, the North Cowichan noise bylaw states: “No person shall make nor allow to be made any noise that disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of any person or persons in the neighbourhood or vicinity, whether by any animal, vehicle, conveyance, vessel, machinery, equipment, device, or activity.”
But the same bylaw allows construction-related activities from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
A Township of Langley bylaw restricts RIC and pile driving from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Neighbours must be notified 10 days in advance of the commencement of work. A professional engineer is required to “monitor the intensity of sounds at the property line and ground vibration created from the work to mitigate both the nuisance of noise created and the risk of damage to neighbouring properties.”
North Cowichan’s 2022 Official Community Plan also references noise.
“Loud discordant sound (and vibration) emitted on a regular, repetitive basis can adversely affect the health and well-being of humans and animals (on land and in water) and are even capable of damaging physical structures over time. Efforts will be made to prevent the creation of new sources of noise pollution and to identify and mitigate the impact of current sources.”
Transtide Kingsview developed lower Kingsview, but Vesta Properties is developing the upper area — promoted as Kingsview at Maple Bay.
Michael Schmidt, development manager for Vesta, has informed residents that site works on the upper portion of Kingsview are expected to begin next spring. He also said the company is undertaking geotechnical studies to determine the compaction requirements.
(UPDATE: on Nov. 1, 2023, council unanimously endorsed a motion from Councillor Christopher Justice calling, in part, for "staff to prepare a report which provides options for creating a progressive Noise Bylaw which would mitigate noise complaints….)
(Photo: lower Kingsview house construction).
(Video of RIC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DryM3Y_zJcg)
Subscribe free to sixmountains.ca. More than 37,000 unique visitors.
— Larry Pynn, Oct. 9, 2023