Noise Bylaw

Noises that are not related to construction activities or to barking dogs are regulated by the Noise Bylaw. The Noise Bylaw establishes objective criteria for noise levels based on location and time of day. If you are disturbed by noise that disrupts the peace quiet and enjoyment of your residence read the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • How much noise is too much noise?

    Determining how much noise is too much noise can be complicated. People differ in their tolerance to noise, some being more sensitive than others. The time of day, the duration, and the location all play a part in whether a particular noise is perceived to be disturbing or not. For example, a weed-eater operated at 2:00 pm might not be considered bothersome whereas the same machinery operated at 2:00 am would likely generate complaints.

    The Noise Bylaw recognizes the need for flexibility and has established different levels of acceptable noise for different situations. For example, continuous noise in a quiet zone shall not exceed 55 decibels during the daytime and 45 decibels at night. Whenever possible, objective criterion, i.e. the amount of decibels, is used to determine if a violation has occurred. In situations where it is appropriate, a Bylaw Officer will take measurements of the sound using a sound level meter and determine if a violation has occurred.
     

    What can I do if I am disturbed by noise?

    For situations that sounds violent or that you believe may escalate to violence call 911.

    For situations not described above,

    • Try to resolve the issue. Often noise problems can be resolved in a neighbourly fashion without involving City staff. If you live in a single detached dwelling and feel comfortable, approach the neighbour making the noise and talk to them about your concerns. They may be completely unaware they are creating a disturbance. If you live in a multi-family dwelling contact the manager or Strata Council. Perhaps others in your building have been disturbed and efforts are already underway to correct the problem.
    • Call a Bylaw Officer. If you are not comfortable resolving the issue on your own, or if your attempts have failed, call a Bylaw Officer.  Before calling be prepared to give a detailed and accurate description of the problem including:
      • the address of where the noise is coming from,
      • the type of activity creating the noise,
      • when the noise started,
      • the days and times of day the noise occurring,
      • any pattern to the disturbances,
      • any efforts you have taken to resolve the issue, and
      • any police file numbers that are relevant.

     

    How do I report a disturbance?

    Call 604-527-4657 during City Hall business hours or by emailing .

     

    What happens after I report a noise disturbance?

    A Bylaw Officer will contact you to discuss the matter.  Follow up actions will include investigating the noise source, determining if a violation has occurred, and taking appropriate enforcement action.  

     

    Then what?

    If it is determined a violation has occurred and depending on the circumstances, the Bylaw Officer may issue a verbal warning, a written warning, or a violation ticket. If ticketing is involved, the Bylaw Officer may rely on your information as evidence to support the ticket and this information may be used if the ticket is disputed.

  • VENTILATION/EXHAUST FAN NOISE

    A noisy exhaust fan was recently installed in a business near my house. I can’t open my windows without hearing its incessant drone. Is there anything that can be done?

    Yes. Contact a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4657. A Bylaw Officer will investigate the complaint, and if appropriate, take enforcement action. Before calling, be prepared to give a detailed and accurate account of the problem including: the address where the fan is located; the quality of the noise (e.g. whirring, humming, vibrating, rotational, etc.); the time of day when the noise occurs; the duration of the disturbance; and any patterns that you may have noticed.

     

    PARTY NOISE

    My neighbor has wild parties that disturb everyone in the neighbourhood. What can I do to stop this from occurring?

    For a party in progress that is disturbing the peace call the New Westminster Police Department non-emergency line at 604-525-5411. Request a file number for follow up. Keep a log of occurrences and file numbers.

    If it is an on-going issue and you live in a rental apartment building, contact your building manager. If it is an on-going issue and you live in a townhouse or condominium, contact your Strata Council. The folks managing your building are in the best position to deal with the problem and may know of others who have been disturbed. If, despite taking this action, the problem persists contact a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4657. Before calling be prepared to give a detailed and accurate description including: the address of your building; a log of dates and times you have been disturbed; any patterns that you may have noticed such as duration of the noise and/or particular days of the week it occurs; and details of your contact with the manager or Strata Council regarding the problem.

    If it is an on-going issue and you live in a single detached dwelling contact a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4657.  Before calling be prepared to give a detailed and accurate description of the problem including: the address of your building; a log of dates and times you have been disturbed; any patterns that you may have noticed such as duration of the noise and/or particular days of the week it occurs; details of any actions you have taken to resolve the issue; and police file numbers if relevant.

     

    MUSIC

    The teenagers living in the house next door are in a rock band. When they practice in their basement the window in my house actually vibrate from the noise. What can I do?

    Try discussing the problem with the property owner. If you are not comfortable approaching the owner, or if attempts to resolve the issue with the owner have failed, contact a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4657. Before calling be prepared to give a detailed and accurate description of the problem including: the address that is the source of the noise; a log of dates and times you have been disturbed; any patterns that you may have noticed such as duration of the noise and/or particular days of the week it occurs; and details of any actions you have taken to resolve the issue.

    For after-hours noise that disturbs the peace call the New Westminster Police Department non-emergency line at 604-525-5411.


    The tenant living above me plays his stereo excessively loud. It’s often in the middle of the day but it goes on for hours and I can’t even hear my own TV. Can anything be done?

    Yes. Contact your apartment manager to discuss the problem. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure tenants living in the same building co-exist peacefully. It may take several conversations with the manager and/or a written complaint detailing dates and times you have been disturbed in order to bring about change.

    If you have advised the manager and the problem persists contact a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4645. Before calling be prepared to give a detailed and accurate description of the problem including: the address of your building; a log of dates and times you have been disturbed; any patterns that you may have noticed such as duration of the noise and/or particular days of the week it occurs; and details of any actions you have taken to resolve the issue.

     

    WOODWORKING

    My neighbor is retired and practically lives in his garage tinkering on different projects. Frequently his projects require hammering or using a table saw. I never seem to get a day of peace and quiet.

    Try discussing the problem with the property owner. If you are not comfortable approaching the owner, or if attempts to resolve the issue with the owner have failed, contact a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4657.  Before calling be prepared to give a detailed and accurate description of the problem including: the address that is the source of the noise; a log of dates and times you have been disturbed; any patterns that you may have noticed such as duration of the noise and/or particular days of the week it occurs; and details of what actions you have taken to resolve the issue.

     

    CAR ALARMS

    There is a car alarm going off in my neighbourhood.

    Contact the New Westminster Police service non-emergency line at 604-525-5411.

    They will investigate the complaint and, if appropriate, take action. Be prepared to provide a street address or parking lot in which the vehicle is parked and a description of the vehicle including the licence plate number.

    If this is an on-going issue involving the same vehicle call a Bylaw Officer at 604-527-4657. Be prepared to provide a street address or parking lot in which the vehicle is parked and a description of the vehicle including the licence plate number. Providing dates and times of the disturbances would also be helpful.

     

    LANDSCAPING EQUIPMENT

    My neighbor operates his leaf blower at 8:00 am on Saturday mornings. Is this allowed?

    Yes. Providing it is in good working order, equipment used in lawn and garden care or in building and property maintenance is permitted to be used between 7:01 AM and 9:59

    PM. This includes leaf blowers, edge trimmers, line trimmers, chippers, rototillers, lawnmowers, pressure washers and hand-operated tools.  You may want to consider approaching your neighbor to discuss the issue. It is possible that he or she is unaware they are disturbing anyone. Upon request they may be willing to delay their work until later in the morning. Working cooperatively together it is likely you can come up with a mutually agreeable solution.

     

    TRAIN NOISE

    I moved into my new place a few months ago and had no idea I was so close to train tracks. The whistles in the middle of the night wake me up and disturb my sleep. It’s very annoying.

    Railway activities are regulated by both Federal and Provincial laws are not within the City’s jurisdiction. The City is currently working with railway companies and federal and provincial agencies to reduce train whistling. If you feel the whistles are excessive, or if you have further questions contact the Engineering Department at 604-527-4592.

     

    MOTORCYCLE NOISE

    I live near Sixth Street and when I have my windows open in the summer I am regularly disturbed by motorcycles revving their engines as they speed up the street. What can be done?

    Noise of this nature is beyond the scope of the City’s Noise Bylaw and may, depending on the situation, be a violation of the Motor Vehicle Act. If this is an on-going disturbance and/or you have a vehicle plate number that is related to the disturbance you may consider calling the New Westminster Police Department non-emergency number at 604-525-5411 and speaking to a member of the Traffic Section.

     

    OTHER

    If you didn’t see your issue listed above contact a Bylaw Officer during City Hall business hours by calling 604-527-4657 or by emailing .

    Or if you are experiencing a noise disturbance after hours and would like peace restored to the neighbourhood call the New Westminster Police Department non-emergency number at 604-525-5411.

  • General Inquiries
    Phone: 604-527-4657
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