Moose Jaw‘s executive committee approved on Monday night a public consultation exploring potential changes to current noise and building bylaws in order to prevent disputes between neighbours.
“We need to do the right thing for our community and we’re going to deal with this subject head-on,” said Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie.
The move follows a quarrel between downtown business Dance Fitness With Kyra, a local workout studio, and neighbouring residents.
Council says the complaints started last September.
“We aren’t doing our jobs as councillors if we’re not dealing with some of the challenges residents are dealing with,” Tolmie said.
Last week, Moose Jaw police laid six charges against Kyra Klassen, owner of Dance Fitness With Kyra, regarding the noise complaints.
The matter is currently before the courts and will be heard in April.
“It’s unfortunate that it escalated so quickly,” said Klassen. “I just hope that everybody can walk away feeling at peace with the decision made, that fairness is brought to both parties.”
On March 11, Coun. Dawn Luhning introduced a motion during city council to address the disturbance coming from the dance fitness studio.
While council admits that Klassen was following the rules, Tolmie says the dispute exposed a gap in the city’s bylaws.
“We’re looking at fixing that and putting in some new bylaws,” he said. “We’re trying to promote mixed-use (space) in our downtown plan for the future so this is just a natural progression, and this is what we’re working on.”
Currently, Moose Jaw is looking to model its noise restrictions after Regina, which sets its levels at a maximum of 70 decibels in commercial zones between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., or the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner.
Any time outside of those hours, the maximum noise level is reduced to 60 decibels, or the equivalent of an air conditioner.
Regina also sets maximum noise levels in residential areas, something Moose Jaw is considering as well.
Changes to Moose Jaw’s building bylaw would require the owner of a business who shares a wall with a resident to soundproof their unit.
Moose Jaw’s planning department starts consultations this week, and council could vote on the amendments in as quickly as two weeks.