South Shore residents complain of noise from Parc Jean-Drapeau during festivals

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While concertgoers flocked to Parc Jean-Drapeau for the Heavy Montreal festival over the weekend, the two-day celebration of heavy metal music wasn't music to everyone's ears. Global's Phil Carpenter reports – Jul 29, 2018

François Girard is packing up for a bike ride in the country, trying to get away from the music coming from Parc Jean Drapeau at the Heavy Montreal heavy metal music festival.

Girard lives in Saint-Lambert, just south of Montreal — about a kilometre away, as the crow flies.  For years, some residents like him have complained about music coming from the various music festivals at the park.

“Noise,” he tells Global News.  “Especially the low frequencies seem to travel through the walls and the windows. Sometimes the windows shake.”

READ MORE: All SLĀV performances cancelled by Montreal Jazz Fest following controversy

It’s almost every weekend, they say, adding that they have to experience the noise so often during the summer isn’t good for their health.

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“It raises blood pressure, it makes people stressed out, it makes them sleep less well,” said neighbour John Sader. “It makes them anxious.”

Saturday evening, Sader walked around his neighbourhood with a noise level application on his phone to measure the sound levels coming from the festival site.  He explained that not all areas are similarly affected, so some people will hardly hear anything.  With his monitor, some places outside gave readings that peaked over 100 decibels; in his kitchen, the average was over 70.

In 2015, Saint Lambert tried but failed to get an injunction to force festivals like Heavy Montreal and Osheaga to turn down the music after 7 p.m.

And Montreal hasn’t always been receptive to complaints from town’s residents.

READ MORE: Sights and sounds of the Caribbean take over Old Port of Montreal

But this year there are some steps being taken by Montreal, Saint-Lambert and the park authorities to address the issue.  Sound monitors have been placed at three locations outside the park to measure the sounds from the music festivals that residents can monitor online.

Only one was placed in Saint-Lambert, and some residents say it’s a problem.

“You don’t have three or four outposts measuring taking averages,” said Sader, “taking average readings and seeing if the sound triangle is where they thought it was.”

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He’s waiting to see what measures will be taken to fix the problem, based on the measurements and hopefully he’ll be able to enjoy his backyard again.

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