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Calgary noise bylaw gets a rewrite for when bands drop the bass

Community standards update will include a bass noise threshold

Helen Pike/ Metro

Calgary’s bylaw officers don’t give away tickets based on bad taste, but when complaints rolling in have more to do with the genre than the sound thresholds, something’s gotta give.

The City of Calgary has hired the help of a sound engineering firm to include a “bass” noise threshold to the community standards bylaw. Currently, the city only measures sound on an “A scale” and soon once data is collected they will have a reading on the “C scale” to point to when residents complain about house-shaking music.

“We’ve seen through research and history in past events that the main thing we want to measure is on the C scale,” said community standards officer Sgt. Fausto Ricioppo. He describes that as the “bass” thump noise that makes windows vibrate. “A lot of people, when they complain, it’s the type of music…if you don’t like the music, you’re going to complain. You just don’t want to hear that noise, period.”

This summer, bylaw officers have been posted at festivals like the Calgary Folk and Music Festival and Chasing Summer to take readings of how loud these music powerhouses go. In adjacent neighbourhoods officers then read how loud the sound is when it gets to residential zones and feed data to the engineering firm.

They will do some complex math, look at safe noise science and come up with a threshold through the analysis.

Results will be presented to council in October with a new bylaw drafted and brought to law by 2017.

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