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Noise bylaw delayed

Souped up cars, trucks and motorcycles will continue to rev through neighbourhoods while city staff continues to explore all options to muffle the noise.

The noisy vehicle issue first came before council three years ago when Coun. Cindy Jefferies along with two former councillors asked administration to review its policy concerning vehicle noise because of complaints from residents.

The city looked to Edmonton where technology is used to measure the decibel level of motorcycles. And since that time Calgary is set up to use a $112,000 “noise snare,” technology with a broader scope of detection for all vehicles.

On Monday night, council directed city staff to take another six months to research all options but it wasn’t without reservations.

Councillors expressed concern about how long it is taking to resolve this issue. Council asked staff to prepare a one-page report outlining what has been done to date. The outline will be emailed to city council.

Jefferies said they are looking at the situation as an enforcement issue and that they should switch their attentions to education and awareness.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling, however, said he would be concerned the education would fall to the converted but he hopes this action signals council has not been sitting idle.

“This has gone on for way too long,” said Coun. Buck Buchanan. “I do have some concerns we are hanging our hats on this snare without really knowing what’s really out there.”

A report with recommendations will be on council agenda in six months.

In other council news:

l Red Deer voters may soon be casting ballots in a ward system. Councillors Chris Stephan, Frank Wong and Buck Buchanan put forward a motion to explore implementing a municipal ward system. The councillors ask the matter be decided by the public in a plebiscite in the next municipal election. The motion will be up for discussion at the Jan. 21, 2013, council meeting.

l Home owners may face an additional charge on their electricity bill starting in 2013 Jim Jorgensen, manager of the city’s Electricty Light and Power department, said the variable rate rider charge is in response to the increasing costs and would allow the city to recover the costs. The request will come back to council for discussion and third reading on Jan. 21, 2013.

• Council unanimously defeated first reading of the Waskasoo neighbourhood area structure plan that would have allowed development of 16 single-family dwellings along 45th Avenue and three more on 59th Street. Council did not feel it was the right move without an area redevelopment plan (ARP) in place reflecting the vision of the community. Chinook’s Edge School Division which owns the River Glen School property wanted to build on the site to earn revenue for capital projects.

“We’re not comfortable just leaving it sit,” said board chairperson Colleen Butler. “This is a capital asset for us. We have many capital projects that we need to work on. We are going to look at ways to move forward. We are very disappointed with the decision.” Work on the area redevelopment plan would only get underway after the West Park and Railyards ARP plans are completed sometime in mid-2013.

• Residents will cast their ballots to elect the next city council and mayor on Oct. 21, 2013, the third Monday in October. City council passed the 2013 Election bylaw. The city is using the theme, Make This Election Yours while encouraging residents to vote. The nomination day is Sept. 23, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Contact the city’s Legislative Services department for the 2013 Candidate Handbook. The bylaw will have to be amended in light of the province’s recent changes to the election laws.

• Changes to Red Deer’s Smoke Free bylaw was put on the backburner to allow administration time to ensure all bases are covered in the bylaw. Earlier this year the city received requests to expand the bylaw to protect children at places they frequent like playgrounds, parks and outdoor spaces. The item is back on the agenda on Jan. 21, 2013.

• The Red Deer Downtown Business Association welcomed Luscas Ford of Classic Tattoo Co., Rolland Forsland of Dose Coffee & Love and Sheena Johnson of the Bra Lounge to the board of the directors. Council ratified the appointments on Monday. The new members will serve from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015. The executive will be appointed by the Board of Directors at the first meeting in January.

• Twenty bylaws including acceptance of faxed documents, plugged sewers and use of water well were scrapped as part of council’s efforts to implement a new governance policy framework. The majority of the policies were approved in the late 1990s and have not been reviewed or updated since their approval. Deletion of the bylaws pose no gaps or risks in policy, says city administration.



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