Lacombe County Council gets an earful about noise

Lacombe County is looking into ways to keep a lid on music events after a weekend gathering drew numerous complaints.

Lacombe County is looking into ways to keep a lid on music events after a weekend gathering drew numerous complaints.

County councillors ears were ringing after receiving about a dozen complaints about loud noise from a gathering at the Teepee Village north of Blackfalds.

“Lacombe County council deeply regrets the unfortunate and disturbing events which took place over this past weekend,” says a statement released by council on Monday afternoon.

RCMP at the Blackfalds detachment also reported 14 noise complaints Thursday through Saturday, said Lacombe County commissioner Terry Hager.

Council directed administration to review the development permit for the campground, investigate council’s options to regulate and control future events within the county, and consult with local law enforcement agencies to provide a co-ordinated system of law and bylaw enforcement.

Hager said the county, himself included, fielded complaints from as far as north of the county’s office, which is located on Hwy 12 just west of Lacombe.

The event organized out of Edmonton was called Wonderland: Mad Hatter III — 2011. Music covered everything from punk and ska to folk, metal and hiphop.

“The issue we had was with the noise trespass. First of all, the noise was extremely loud. It basically went on from when it first started up on Wednesday to Sunday morning.”

“Council has also asked that we prepare a discussion paper to talk about perhaps implementing a noise bylaw and/or a special events bylaw.”

Administration will see what could be put in place that is enforceable. A $50 fine would do little to stop violators, he said.

“You have to have some ability to cause it to stop.”

Hager said the county wants to review the event with the campground’s owner to see what can be done better in the future. He spoke to campground owner Frank Kuhnen on Saturday and believes he was making sincere efforts to try to keep the noise down, but it would soon get cranked up again.

Kuhnen said he would “100 per cent” support a noise bylaw. “I think it would be a hell of an idea.”

Event organizers had a new sound system, which was the source of the problems. “It wasn’t even music in my mind,” said the 80-year-old. “It was just a roar.

“I feel very bad about it. But it happened. I was just as surprised as anyone else.”

Kuhnen said event organizers will have to make changes to the volume before they are allowed back.

Besides the loudness, the behaviour of the 200 or so music lovers was faultless, he said. “You couldn’t get better people.”

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