At one of our meetings a few months ago, Diana, a resident of this neighbourhood, came to visit us to discuss an issue she has been fighting ever since she moved here in 2006: noise. As someone who lives substantially west of Lewvan Drive, I was surprised. I didn’t know noise in the neighbourhood was at all an issue. According to Diana, noise from vehicles on Lewvan Drive is so loud that she finds it unbearable to even sit on her deck and enjoy a cup of coffee.
As a person who is skeptical of everything, I was, of course, skeptical. Could vehicular traffic really be that noisy? I have lived in this neighbourhood my entire life, and I have never been bothered by any noise. I looked up the address that Diana gave to us, and found out that she lived quite a distance from Lewvan Drive. Was this “noise problem” really an issue, or was this just a person with oversensitive hearing?
One night, it turned out that a friend who I was visiting lived close to Diana’s street. On my way over, I decided to pop in and hear all of this noisy traffic for myself. I pulled onto her street, shut my car off, and rolled down the windows. Then I sat and listened. To all of the noise. The cars and semis barreling down Lewvan Drive could, indeed, be heard clear as day from where I was sitting on Diana’s street, some 500 meters away. After a few minutes of listening to all of the traffic, it became easy to understand how all of that noise could become bothersome.
So, what to do about it? It turns out that Diana has been lobbying the city for quite sometime to have the problem solved. Diana’s proposition is to install noise abatement along Lewvan Drive (Saskatoon has these, on Circle Drive). A few years ago, she even asked the city to do a noise study, which they agreed to do, and they set aside $155,000 in the budget to cover the costs.
Unfortunately, there have been delays. Diana writes:
“In December 2009, I presented these concerns to the City of Regina during a council meeting. The issue was discussed and the Council proposed a two-year traffic noise monitoring study. In March 2010, funding ($75,000) for the first year of the noise study was approved but deferred to the 2011-12 fiscal. When I contacted Tom O’Connell, City of Regina, in October 2011, he explained that because of higher priority projects, the traffic noise study had been delayed. Mr O’Connell anticipated a call for tenders would be completed soon; he also explained that a decision whether to fund the second year ($80,000) of the study would be made by December 31 2011. To help mitigate this two-year delay, a solution could be having a more intensive noise monitoring study completed by December 2012, using the combined 2-year budget of $155,000.”
So the city promised Diana they would do a two-year noise study, two years ago. But, because it is not deemed a priority issue, it has been delayed. Diana came to see us, and asked if we would write the city expressing our concern that this noise study should be done. In response, we wrote to Councilor Hutchinson and Mayor Fiacco and noted that “One of our roles as a community association is to assist residents who have concerns that they wish to bring to the attention of City Hall. Our association feels that [Diana] is raising a concern that deserves to be investigated. We urge the City to conduct the deferred traffic noise study as quickly as possible and to take noise attention measures deemed appropriate in light of the results of the study. We also ask that Lakeview Community Association be advised of what actions the City is taking in this matter.”
The letter we wrote to both Councillor Hutchinson and Mayor Fiacco was sent in early December. As of yet, we have not heard a reply from either of them. On December 31, Regina was to finalize its budget for the 2012 year, and since we have not heard back from anybody, it cannot be confirmed if the noise study was approved for this year’s budget or not. The city made a promise to do a study, and the promise should be kept. It is not fair for Diana (and other residents, who perhaps are annoyed by the noise) to be strung along year-to-year hoping that other projects won’t take priority over the noise study and cause it to get pushed back yet again. It is also concerning that when addressing concerns to both the city councillor and mayor, nobody responds. Is it not their job to look after concerns of the residents of the city that they represent? Even a response such as “got your letter, I’m looking into it” would have been better than no response at all.
So, as of yet nothing has been done. No noise study. No noise abatements. No response from the city. In the mean time, the Lewvan gets busier and busier, driving residents like Diana crazier and crazier.Clearly, if you are a citizen in Regina and have an issue you want addressed, you’d better have patience, as it seems to take a lot of time and effort to get something done around here.