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Oro Medonte

Oro Medonte > Sound

Managing Sound Levels at Burl’s Creek

2015 Festival Sound Level Impact

Community input from the 2015 WayHome festival indicated that sound levels negatively impacted some local residents. Additionally, Township senior staff identified gaps in the sound level management processes available to the Township – sound level measurement, onsite monitoring and penalties.

Response to Community and Senior Staff Concerns

In response to these concerns, Council directed senior staff to consult with BCEG Inc. and amend the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding. With these amendments, the Township is now in a stronger position to manage sound level concerns regarding special events for the applicable 92 acres at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds.

One of the direct outcomes of this Council-directed consultation is the establishment of a Sound Monitoring Program for Burl’s Creek Event Grounds.

2016 Sound Monitoring Program

The 2016 Sound Monitoring Program six components for sound level monitoring:

  1. Setting Acceptable Sound Level Standards
  2. Expanding Sound Level Measurements
  3. Independent Peer Review and Analysis of Sound Data
  4. Council Evaluation of Suitability of 2016 Standards
  5. Establishing Future Sound Level Regulation
  6. Sound Level Standards Enforcement
Here is a detailed explanation of each component.

1. Setting Acceptable Sound Level Standards
In response to community feedback from the 2015 WayHome festival, sound levels limits were reduced for Boots and Hearts. Feedback from the 2015 Boots and Hearts festival yielded significantly fewer sound level complaints.

Comparing 2015 and 2016 Festivals Sound Levels (Decibels Adjusted, dbA)
  2015 WayHome 2015 Boots and Hearts 2016 WayHome Approved Levels 2016 Boots and Hearts Approved Levels
Times Actual Peak Level Actual Peak Level Fri., July 22 Sat., July 23 Sun., July 24 Aug. 4 to 7
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

(Peak sound level over entire 2015 festival.)

(Peak sound level over entire 2015 festival.)
11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.90
11:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.909590No performances during this time period.

With this result, Council endorsed:

  • benchmarking sound levels for the two 2016 festivals using the 2015 Boots and Hearts results
  • reduced sound levels from the peaks of 113 and 105 dbA.

A five-minute grace period applies to all time slots.

2. Expanding Sound Level Measurement
Township senior staff identified several limitations with the 2015 sound level measurement process. These limitations were addressed in the amended 2015 MOU which specifies that:

  • Sound levels at Burl’s Creek boundaries and front of house will be measured by Aercoustics Engineering Ltd., an engineering firm contracted by BCEG Inc.
  • Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and Aercoustics technicians will jointly respond to offsite sound level complaints and use mobile monitoring tools to gather sound level data
  • Sound level measurements will be conducted between July 18 and August 12, 2016 to gather both ambient and festival sound data
  • Municipal Law Enforcement Officers will verify and monitor the sound level data-collection process
  • BCEG Inc. will apply its best efforts to control sound levels and limit performers’ profanity use while on stage.

3. Independent Peer Review of Sound Data with Analysis
After the festivals, the Township will contract Trinity Consultants Inc. to independently peer review, analyze and report on this sound level data to Council.

4. Council Evaluation of Suitability of 2016 Standards
Once Council receives this data, it will review the results in consultation with senior staff, legal counsel and any other experts that Council deems are required for it to make an informed assessment.

5. Establishing Future Sound Level Regulation
After Council has completed its evaluation, it will determine if there is sufficient information to regulate sound levels and duration on a permanent basis for Burl’s Creek Event Grounds.

6. Sound Level Standards Enforcement
Through the conditions outlined in the amended 2015 MOU with BCEG Inc., Council has:

  • Confirmed the authority of Municipal Law Enforcement Officers to conduct inspections at the properties of special event permit holders
  • Received a $100,000 bond to pay any fees should WayHome exceed its sound limits
  • Required that the bond will be topped up to the original $100,000 for Boots and Hearts
  • Set out revised fees that apply to each festival:
    • A $15,000 first and second occurrence fee for sound levels that exceed sound limits
    • A $30,000 fee for the third and any additional occurrences (no cap).

Reporting 2016 Sound Measurements

The data collection, analysis and reporting process is:

  • Aercoustics Engineering Ltd. will provide the sound level and duration data from WayHome, and Boots and Hearts to the Township’s consultants, Trinity Consultants Inc., in mid-August
  • Trinity Consultants Inc. will peer review this data and provide an analysis to Township senior staff in late August
  • Senior staff will review this report and provide their recommendations to Council in September
  • Council will consider senior staff’s report in either late September or early October

As previously noted, calls were recorded and all personal information was collected pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It will be used for administering the 2016 Sound Monitoring Program for Burl’s Creek Festivals and may be used in Council deliberations. Questions about this collection should be directed to the Clerk’s Office, Township of Oro-Medonte, 148 Line 7 South, Oro-Medonte, Ontario L0L 2E0, or (705) 487-2171, ext. 2132.