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Residents tee’d off at noise exemption request

July 12, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Kira Wronska Dorward

At July 8’s Council meeting, an issue arising from a bylaw was discussed at great length among the public, interested parties, and Councillors alike.

The bylaw ordinance prohibiting the cutting of grass on golf courses until 7 a.m. was in dispute, as the Nottawasaga Resort asked Council for an exemption to continue a practice representatives said they have been doing since the establishment opened 35 years ago.

They claimed to have been in ignorance of this bylaw for the past three-and-a-half decades, and were asking for the right to practice what “countless” golf courses across the country do, with tee times starting as early as 6:30 am.

“It’s impossible to get the work done beforehand,” commented the resort’s representative. There were also concerns about the safety of employees doing their work with customers behind them starting with early tee off times.

Residents, on the other hand, who back onto the golf course at both Briar Hill and Green Briar do not appreciate the early morning wake-up calls.

“Some of these people are not well,” said Kristen McClare, a representative of the Green Briar community.

Of biggest concern was the manner in which the news of Council’s consideration of the exemption was delivered.

“The first time I heard about noise starting in our community at 6 a.m. was through the distribution of [the Council meeting] minutes yesterday,” said a representative from Briar Hill, which encompasses some 1,400 residents. “I just don’t know how this happens from decision to decision. So, that disturbs me. It feels like it’s done because it’s being voted on tonight…I think that rushing from here to final approval of Council tonight is disrespectful to the community.”

The clerk assured everyone that the proper process for the exemption had been followed, with staff taking the request, making a report, and then presenting it to Council.

In response, the Briar Hill resident said, “that sounded like a request for Council to handle this in an expeditious manner. It doesn’t speak to public input. I would hope that when it impacts specific members of the community, they should be a part of the process.”

The representative also pointed out that the exemption request, although intended for grass cutting machines, was broad and vague.

“There’s all sorts of things that can happen on a golf course,” he concluded.

McClure from Green Briar, who also only found out about the exemption just before the meeting, began by saying, “excuse me if I’m not saying the right thing. I wasn’t really prepared. We’re all aware of what the Nottawasaga Resort provides for our community…it doesn’t seem like a big thing, but when you back onto the golf course and you sleep with your window open…” She also added that she didn’t think “it would be a big deal” for exemptions for special events, just not daily.

Councillor Foster was adamantly opposed to the exemption, calling it “extreme and unreasonable. 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. is a reasonable time frame to get work done, so I won’t be supporting this motion.”

The representative from the resort pointed out that since 2016 there have only been eight recorded complaints about the noise at 6 a.m. He added, “I close my window. All you have to do is close your window and get a fan running. That works in my experience.” He also pointed out they were applying for an exemption for a practice they’d been doing for 34 years.

Councillor Sainsbury weighed in, saying that the residents were not notified of the exemption and subsequent Council meeting by mail.

“It’s not the resident’s responsibility to sit down on a holiday weekend, especially if they’re retired, and read the town agenda,” she added.

She also pointed out that she’d received a letter from a resident with a simple request to defer the issue. “I don’t think they’re so much against the starting time, they’re against the process.”

The motion was put to a vote and not carried.


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