New Brunswick city discusses audio technology to enforce noise bylaw

Click to play video: 'Fredericton looking into ‘noise cameras’ for bylaw enforcement'
Fredericton looking into ‘noise cameras’ for bylaw enforcement
WATCH: Noise bylaws are in place in most cities, but enforcing them can be tricky. That’s where technology can come into play. The city of Fredericton is looking at potentially getting some “noise cameras,” which are now being used in France. Nathalie Sturgeon has more on the new tech, and how it works – Sep 2, 2022

The sound of a motorcycle or sports car isn’t always a pleasant sound.

In Fredericton, there is a bylaw that deals with noise. It specifies that any car or motorcycle can’t exceed a certain decibel. It also says a person can’t operate a vehicle that emits a noise that disturbs other people.

But how does the city measure and enforce that bylaw?

According to Fredericton Ward 3 city councillor Bruce Grandy, that’s a bit tricky. Recently, another councillor brought forward technology that is being used in France.

“What they’re looking at is a decibel meter, which is what you measure noise with and it’s mounted on a light stand or a pole in a busy area,” he said. “If it’s actually above the threshold, it will automatically take a picture of your license plate or car and then a ticket is issued to the registered owner.”

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There has been no official move to implement any devices like that, Grandy said, but he added there are obvious merits to how it could aid in enforcement.

Noise complaints are often a big topic of discussion for council.

“I think technology has a big role to play in our community as we move forward and as I’ve said before, we cannot have a police officer on every corner and every street and there are lot of challenges in our community,” he said.

Recently, the council approved the first phase of a new community and public safety camera program that will allow the public and businesses to view the city’s streets.

It would be used for public safety, crowd control, real-time information for emergency dispatchers and first responders, and, in the event of a crime, to assist police in locating suspects.

Chief of Police Martin Gaudet said at the time the use of technology will be something he will prioritize and hopes to initiate soon. He said the technology is “a force multiplier that helps reduce crime in our community.”

The noise technology being used in France fits well into the city’s use of technology, and well within its designation as a smart city.

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Dan Murphy, the executive director of the Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick, says technology like this is becoming more popular under its membership.

“I think everyone’s looking for new tools in the toolkit to help them address some of these challenges,” he said. “I know that type of noise complaints are always something we hear in all communities.”

Murphy said if there is technology that enables municipalities to enforce bylaws easily, that’s a plus. He said this also allows police to be freed up to pursue other police matters.

In the meantime, Grandy said the city continues to look at how technology can improve the lives of the community in Fredericton.

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Living with condo noise'
Consumer Matters: Living with condo noise

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