In 2006, the Ombudsman de Montréal mentioned improvements in the following up and handling of excessive noise complaints. Indeed, different measures had been implemented in the boroughs most affected by this type of complaints, and we had noticed the positive impact of these measures which lowered the number of requests submitted to our office, on such matter. In 2008, we handled 54 requests in regards to excessive noise which led to only 17 thorough investigations. In 2009, we handled 36 requests regarding excessive noise only 16 of which required a more thorough investigation.

Since our muscled interventions of the past few years, we have noticed that many boroughs show more diligence in the handling of noise complaints: noise measurements are generally taken within shorter delays and solutions are identified more rapidly.

Noise problems are more frequent in boroughs where the population density is greater and where residential, commercial and industrial buildings are in proximity of each other. Concious this reality affects them more specifically, the representatives and elected officials of Arrondissement de Ville-Marie decided to act, in 2008, to try to improve things.

A new technician was hired to deal specifically with the borough’s noise problems. On top of measuring the intensity of noises in contentious cases, this technician also meets with merchants and residents to share information, explain the relevant by-laws and encourage people to act in a preventive manner, so as to avoid litigation and the risk of a fine. If the need arises, he can also give them advice in this regard.

Arrondissement de Ville-Marie also increased significantly the amount of the fines that can be imposed to businesses, when their activities exceed the maximum permitted noise levels. These fines are now as follows:

  • (i) From $1,500 to $3,000 for a first offence;
  • (ii) From $3,000 to $6,000 for the first repeated offence; and
  • (iii) From $6,000 to $12,000 for any additional repeated offence.

According to the information we obtained, it would appear that, since this new approach was implemented, the number of noise complaints the borough received has greatly decreased and moreover, a more harmonious cohabitation is underway, between citizens and merchants. Arrondissement de Ville-Marie may, therefore, become a model to be followed, in terms of noise management.

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