Vancouver to consider ban on loudspeakers and amplifiers in public places

Feb 22 2021, 3:56 pm

A new City of Vancouver staff report suggests implementing a ban on loudspeakers and noise amplification devices such as megaphones in public places.

According to the report, the suggestion comes after the city received complaints about a person on the streets in downtown Vancouver using a microphone and amplifier to speak to the public last summer.

“Both the volume and duration of his speech were reported to be a public disturbance,” the report states.

A staff review of the city’s noise bylaws as a result “found that there are no regulations in the Noise Control Bylaw specific to sound from amplification of voice or musical instruments in public spaces, although the sound must comply with bylaw conditions that set maximum daytime and night-time sound levels from any source in a public space, in all areas of the city.”

According to the city, the Street and Traffic bylaw regulates activities like celebrations, street entertainment, community and regional events.

These can take place within public spaces under City-issued permits or in designated entertainment locations. Street program activities must comply with all provisions of the Noise Control bylaw.

In the report, staff suggest amending the bylaw to “specifically regulate amplification of voice and sound from musical instruments in public spaces,” and that two additional enforcement options be enabled by amending the Ticket Offences bylaw, and the Street and Traffic bylaw.

The proposals include:

  • Amend the Noise Control Bylaw to prohibit the unauthorized use in public spaces, of
    devices that can amplify voice or musical instruments;
  • Create a related $250 ticket offence in the Ticket Offences Bylaw for such unauthorized use;
  • Enable the seizure of such devices through an amendment to the Street and Traffic bylaw, making it unlawful to place devices that can amplify voice or musical instruments on public spaces including streets, sidewalks and any public property or right-of-way.

City council is set to consider the report on February 24.

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