Tired of the nearly constant noise of the Trans-Canada Highway just metres from their homes, a group of View Royal residents has launched a petition to ask the province to install noise barriers between their neighbourhood and the traffic.
Launched on Nov. 8 by Ryan Painter, the online petition has gained 142 signatures as of Nov. 17, and has already gained the support of the town’s new mayor and council.
“You can be standing outside on my balcony, which is a good distance from the highway, and you can register anywhere from 60 to 65 decibels,” said Painter. “As you get closer to the highway, you get into the high 70s to 80s decibel range. Once you hit that 80-decibel range, it is recognized by Health Canada as negatively impacting your hearing.”
Painter said any time a community is built near a major road, traffic noise is to be expected. But with the ever-growing West Shore meaning more and more people are commuting each day, he said the noise is only getting worse.
And while other neighbourhoods in Greater Victoria may be just as close to the highway as Thetis Vale, most of them have some form of noise barrier installed separating the highway traffic from the neighbouring houses, whereas Thetis Vale has just a chain link fence.
“We are asking the province of B.C. to work with local governments, our MLA, and residents to try and find some solutions, to see what can be done to put in some barriers, trees, or anything, to help mitigate the sounds. It really is about being treated equally and fairly as our neighbours just up the highway.”
Painter said the petition is targeting the province as the highway is under its jurisdiction, but he is also working with the town to see what help it may be able to offer.
At a council meeting on Nov. 15, View Royal council passed a motion directing staff to study what options are available to help mitigate highway noise in Thetis Vale and to submit a letter of support for the petition to the province.
“I completely empathize with the folks who are concerned with highway noise in the area, and certainly support Mr. Painter’s efforts to create a petition and get something done about it,” said Mayor Sid Tobias. “I’m pretty sure (the province) will be amenable to a partnership so that we can do this.”
Beyond supporting the petition and expressing a willingness to find solutions, Tobias said he is also taking the opportunity to learn lessons which could be applied to future developments in the town, including considering ensuring there is infrastructure like noise barriers in place before construction is allowed to start on residential buildings.
As for the petition, Painter said he is currently in the process of converting it into a physical petition so it can be formally submitted to the province in the coming weeks.