Twelve MPPS, mostly from Toronto, have signed a letter to Ontario premier Doug Ford to give the city back the power to limit construction noise.
Residents living near construction sites have been “distressed by being jolted awake every morning and being unable to fall asleep at night because of construction noise,” the letter says.
What’s worse, working at home during the pandemic has given residents no reprieve from the noise during the day, the MPPS say.
The letter dated July 22 is signed by 12 people, including Toronto-St. Paul’s MPP Jill Andrew, University-Rosedale MPP Jessica Bell, Beaches-East MPP Rima Berns-McGown, Toronto Centre MPP Suze Morrison and Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns. All are members of the NDP, who form the official opposition at Queen’s Park.
On April 7, the Ontario government announced an order that prevented the city from limiting construction noise between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days per week, until Oct. 7, 2021.
This overrode a city noise bylaw that would allow construction equipment to operate weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and disallow any construction noise on Sundays and statutory holidays.
Initially the provincial order applied to essential construction projects, such as for hospitals and COVID-19 assessment centres. But, as the province opened up, condominium developments and other projects were added to the list of construction sites allowed to work the longer hours.
The provincial government justified limiting noise bylaws as supporting the health and safety of construction worker. Extending the hours for work made it possible to stagger shifts and have fewer workers on site practising physical distancing, they said.
Sleepless in Toronto
However, annoyed residents have contacted local representatives and taken to social media to complain about excessive construction noise.
— Sara Caspian (@CaspianSara) June 4, 2020
City council passed on June 29 a motion brought by Toronto-St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow and seconded by Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Mike Colle to ask the province to repeal its order and give the city back the power to limit construction noise.
Several residents associations wrote letters to council supporting the city’s request.
“We have received numerous complaints from individuals in our neighbourhood,” said a letter from Maureen Kapral, vice-president of the Lytton Park Residents’ Organization. “Opening of noise permissions must stop as soon as possible, and not be open until 2021.”
LPRO suggested the government’s order was made on the basis of “sectoral influence,” rather than on the basis of public health advice.
Hearing construction noise on Canada Day? Please let @fordnation know you support our motion requesting the province return Toronto’s power to control its own construction noise by-laws and put residents before the development industry’s interests. https://t.co/fWilvwL5lB
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) July 1, 2020