An uptown White Rock resident is seeing red over construction work that he says is routinely going outside the times specified in city rules.
Terry Alcorn, a resident of White Rock Square 1 at Foster Street and Russell Avenue, told Peace Arch News he believes noise-bylaw regulations are being deliberately flouted.
While city officials insist that bylaws are being enforced, Alford said calling the city’s bylaw department to complain has provided scant comfort.
“I was told that they feel their hands are tied – that project managers tell enforcement officers ‘go ahead and fine us, we’ll consider it a cost of doing business,’” he said. “Holy smoke, that blows me away.”
The city noise bylaw states that construction and other work that is likely to disturb the peace and “convenience of individuals or the public” is not permitted before 7:30 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on weekdays, or before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on weekends.
Yet on Wednesday, Aug. 8, Alcorn said, work at the Oceana PARC development between Johnston Road and George Street started at 6:45 a.m. and didn’t finish until 8:50 p.m.
Alcorn said the project manager told him that work went so late in that instance because a crane broke down.
City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi told PAN by email Wednesday that “bylaw enforcement has responded to complaints received regarding … construction activity for the Oceana PARC project.”
“The responses have included enforcement of the city’s noise control bylaw and fines,” she said.
Farrokhi noted the city “will continue to monitor this matter and take necessary enforcement action.”
Meanwhile, Alcorn said he is not alone in his concern. Many neighbours share his frustration, he said – and his feeling that such incidents are far from isolated.
He also said that there is a perception that the multiple projects in the area – including the new phase of the Miramar Village development at Thrift and Johnston – are competitively pushing the envelope on work start times, resulting in an incremental creep earlier.
Alcorn said there is not significant discouragement for construction-company infractions in the city bylaw.
“When bylaw enforcement tells you that fines cap out at $1,000 – what’s that to a big company?” Alcorn asked.
“These bylaws are for people in houses who are going to be doing whatever little alterations or reconstruction they’re doing.”
Alford said he believes the sour taste left by construction procedures will have a backlash against their eventual occupants – particularly commercial tenants.
“They come in and turn up their noses to our bylaws,” he said.
“Then we’re expected to patronize the buildings that have given us grief?”