Editorial: Building a compromise

It is as good to hear the Township is taking steps to rewrite its construction noise bylaws as it is surprising to learn how lax the rules have been up to now.

Since 1988 (at least) construction workers  have apparently been permitted to hammer and saw to their hearts’ content until 10 p.m., seven days a week.

While that’s clearly excessive, it’s hard to know just how often work sites have actually taken advantage of the leeway they’ve been given.

But it’s obviously been a big problem in at least one Langley neighbourhood, as evidenced by a pair of Willoughby residents who came to  the Township with a petition signed by 46 neighbours, complaining that they’ve endured four years of relentless noise from nearby construction. The late-night clamour has left at least one man sleep-deprived and stressed, council learned.

It’s no surprise that construction noise would be a problem in Willoughby, an area that has been home to Langley’s fastest and densest growth in recent years.

And the fact the bylaw passed its first three readings unanimously, with little discussion among council members, shows just how obvious the need is for change.

Obviously, construction crews need ample opportunity to get their work done, in order to stay on time and on budget, but a balance also has to be struck, so that profits aren’t made at the expense of residents’ peace of mind.

By limiting hours of construction from Monday to Saturday and prohibiting the work entirely on Sundays and holidays (except in cases where an extension is required and special permission is granted) the new bylaw, once passed, should meet the needs of both groups. And it will bring the Township closer in line with nearby communities that have some of the tightest existing restrictions.

At this point, at least, it looks like a solution that will allow everyone concerned to rest easy.

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