Frosh Circus prompts noise complaints

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

On Sept. 6, Frosh Circus Block Party was held at Bingemans to commemorate the new school year for students attending Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.

The block party featured popular DJ talent, such as Adventure Club, Audien, Elephante and more, along with circus performers, free food and a Ferris wheel. While students were celebrating, the music from the event was reportedly heard up to two kilometres away from the venue.

Christopher Mulhern, manager of compliance and standards at the City of Waterloo, explained that while there were several noise complaints from residents living nearby, a noise exemption was sought by Bingemans prior to the event.

Mulhern said that all information regarding the specifics of the event will be recorded, filed and put toward determining whether the event will be granted an exemption next year.

He also explained that one reason the noise was heard at such a far distance was due to the weather that evening. The night of the event called for clear skies with a bit of wind, and it was the wind that transmitted the sound.

“That is likely why you hear there were complaints two kilometres away. Because it was a nice night, weather was cooperative for [the] event, and often the weather is cooperative to moving noise to further locations,” said Mulhern.

This detail will also be noted in the files that will determine the continuation of the event.
Mulhern said there have been many noise complaints in the past while Orientation Weeks are running, and lately the noise complaints have been greatly reduced.

“The city has assisted in mitigating some of these noise impacts on the community and I think that has greatly reduced the number of concerns that were received,” said Mulhern.

Alex Altman, a third-year business student at Laurier who attended Frosh Circus, said that he believes it was a great event that helped to bring together the student communities.

“It allows thousands and thousands of students who may not normally interact with one another to develop a sort of common ground,” he said.

Mulhern also believes that it is important to support events that draw people together, however different techniques will have to be imposed in order to mitigate the noise impacts in the community.

Altman believes if Frosh Circus had turned down the music to comply with the noise complaints, it would have had a negative impact on the event.

“I think if you turned the sound down, it would have taken away from the atmosphere,” he continued.

Mulhern touched on the subject of noise regulations regarding house parties in Waterloo.

So far, there have been 24 charges under the noise by-law in 2014, whereas in 2013 there were 26 charges and in 2012 there were 21.

“It’s trending around the same, but we are actually seeing more this year in multiple charges for individuals at a single house,” Mulhern said.

This year the by-law stipulates that if a party taking place in a home involves excessive noise and a high volume of people, every individual involved in the residence will be charged.

This could allow for extremely expensive fines to those organizing house parties.

Mulhern explained that since Waterloo is a small community, it is important for people to be respectable of their neighbours.

“At the end of it, we have to make sure there is an opportunity, and people understand the by-law has to be enforced,” he said.

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