In a resounding victory for the well-being of its residents,
the City of Calgary (the City) has embarked on a pioneering journey to
establish a comprehensive noise policy, demonstrating a commitment to
safeguarding public health and enhancing the quality of life for Calgarians. On
September 12, 2023, the Council unanimously moved the Motion for a Noise
Policy to Protect the Health and Quality of Life of Calgarians.
Recognizing the pervasive impact of environmental noise on
human health, the City is set to undertake a thorough review of existing
bylaws, implement city-wide noise mapping, and introduce innovative measures
for noise mitigation. This progressive initiative aligns with global best
practices and is a significant step toward creating more liveable and
harmonious urban spaces.
Joel Laforest sought assistance from our president Dan
Clayton for putting forward a Motion to improve the noise exposure for
Calgarians after hearing his keynote
speech at the AANViS fall conference last year. Noise complaints
have been increasing over the past few years and Joel was compelled to do
something and received backing from Councillor Walcott, Councillor Spencer, and
Councillor Wong to put a case to Council for a Motion.
Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that
exposure to environmental noise has far-reaching consequences on human health.
From cardiovascular effects to cognitive impacts, sleep disturbances, mental
health issues, and pulmonary effects, the detrimental effects are wide-ranging.
This move by the City underscores the importance of addressing noise-related
concerns as part of a broader public health strategy.
Acknowledging the need for effective noise management,
numerous jurisdictions worldwide have implemented policies and action plans to
mitigate the adverse effects of environmental noise. Some have even established
urban noise observatories, drawing on the best practices outlined by
international health authorities. The City's decision to follow suit
exemplifies a commitment to learning from successful initiatives elsewhere and
tailoring them to the local context.
Beyond addressing negative impacts, the noise policy
envisions a city where positive and desirable sounds are integral to urban
planning and public space design. This forward-thinking perspective recognizes
the role of sounds in creating engaging and liveable environments, fostering a
sense of community and well-being.
The City's resolution to direct the administration to return
with a draft noise policy vision, a review of existing bylaws, and a
comprehensive work plan for city-wide noise mapping and mitigation is a
significant milestone. The proposed pilot project, engaging Calgarians in
soundscape assessment, demonstrates a commitment to community involvement and
reflects the city's dedication to inclusive decision-making.
This decision to embark on this journey towards a
comprehensive noise policy is a cause for celebration. As the city prioritizes
the health and well-being of its residents, it sets an example for others to
follow. With a visionary noise policy, the City of Calgary is not just
addressing a crucial public health concern but is also shaping a future where
urban spaces are designed to promote positive sounds, community engagement, and
an overall higher quality of life.
AANViS will keep you updated as this progresses, but this is
a big win for improving noise policy in Alberta and an exciting time for our
AANViS would like to thank Joel and the City of Calgary for
striving for improvement in this key area.