NDP MPPs in Toronto have penned a letter to Premier Doug Ford urging him to address an increase in construction noise that they say is adversely impacting residents.
In March, noise bylaws were temporarily suspended for delivery vehicles, but the NDP say that Ford “took advantage” of the change by providing an 18-month extension of construction hours for Toronto developers a month later.
During the pandemic, the provincial government is permitting only certain types of construction work and has implemented extended construction hours.
The provincial order permits construction activity between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm seven days a week for projects that are permitted to continue as part of the province’s list of essential workplaces.
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Construction related to essential projects in the healthcare sector is allowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to the NDP, the City of Toronto developed a noise bylaw in consultation with residents that allows construction equipment to operate Monday to Friday 7 am to 7 pm and Saturdays 9 am to 7 pm, with no construction noise on Sundays or statutory holidays.
The provincial government’s order overrides this bylaw and prevents the City from limiting non-essential construction noise between 6 am and 10 pm seven days per week until the regulation expires on October 7, 2021.
“Residents living near residential and commercial construction sites have since contacted our Members, distressed by being jolted awake every morning and being unable to fall asleep at night because of construction noise,” reads part of the NDP’s letter.
“This has been exacerbated by the fact that so many of them are also spending every day working and physically distancing at home, giving them no reprieve from the construction noise during the day.”
According to the NDP, last month, 12 neighbourhood associations in Toronto signed a letter calling on Ford to restore the city’s power to regulate construction noise, and on June 29 Toronto’s City Council adopted a motion to the same effect.
“You cannot continue to ignore this problem. In the interest of our residents’ health and quality of life, you must immediately amend Ontario Regulation 130/20 to remove the provision regarding non-healthcare related construction activity.”