The sound of silence in Kelowna on statutory holidays

Construction noise eased

Kelowna city council appears to like what it hears—or, hopes it will not hear—when it comes to construction noise on statutory holidays.

On Monday, council gave city staff the green light to proceed with drawing up bylaw changes to restrict construction noise on statutory holidays in the city.

Currently, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days per week, 365 days per year, construction noise is allowed in the city. With variances from City Hall, those hours can be lengthened.

The city is now planning to give those living near construction sites a break by restricting noise, somewhat.

Under the proposed new rules, construction noise will still be allowed during the 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. window Monday to Friday, with a change to the hours it is allowed on Saturdays and Sundays to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be completely banned on stat holidays.

At its regular meeting on Monday, council opted not to restrict construction noise on Sundays completely.

The city also plans to make high heat conditions a reason for a variance in the bylaw—something city staff has done for the last few years but is not written into the bylaw at this point. It is also clarifying the scope of required mitigation measures that must be taken.

In a study of seven larger municipalities in B.C., it was found Kelowna and Kamloops were the only two that allow construction noise on Sundays without a variance. In Kelowna, city staff can grant variances when it comes to construction noise hours.

Between Jan. 1, 2023 and April 3, 2024, 132 construction noise variances were granted for work on private property, with more than 80% of them for downtown and South Pandosy/Lakeshore Road corridor projects. More than 80% of those variances were for concrete pouring and finishing work, where it was impractical to do the work within the city’s set hours.

Coun. Mohini Singh said she realized city staff were caught trying to balance the need for development in a fast-growing city with consideration for residents and the need to meet building project deadlines.

Like many of her council colleagues, Singh wanted to know if the development community was consulted about the proposed changes.

City staff said they were and there will be more opportunity to provide additional feedback as changes to the bylaw are prepared.

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge said he was in favour of the changes, he did not want to see barriers put up for the construction industry.

Mayor Tom Dyas called the proposed changes a compromise that he hoped would fit everyone’s needs well.

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