Noise complaints from the river happen, but they’re few and far between. Coun. Scott McKeen hears more from downtown dwellers about cars, trucks and motorcycles.
A report going to the city’s community and public services committee next week suggests an escalating education and enforcement program if the problem gets worse. It says last year park rangers spent a total of 110 hours on the river monitoring the situation as well as handling special events like Canada Day.
Coun. Ben Henderson admits he gets some complaints every year.
“You don’t want to come in hard with a lot of enforcement to deal with the one or two people that are ruining it for everybody else,” Henderson said in an interview. “But not doing so, not having any ability to respond to the people that insist on disturbing others, not being able to respond to them in any kind of way doesn’t give us any kind of power to stop that happening either, and you want to find a balance.”
It was his inquiry last year that prompted the report because it wasn’t clear if the city could enforce noise complaints on the river, much like the EPS does on Jasper Ave. “The problem was the river sat there as this grey area that we weren’t even sure we had jurisdiction over. I think it’s a valid question. The river valley echoes in ways that other areas don’t and I don’t think anybody gets to the point where you say you can’t have a motor boat. That’s the exact opposite of what we want to achieve here.”
“At a certain point you don’t want to do anything that’s going to discourage use of the river. So much of this — and it’s what is so frustrating about a lot of these things — is often you’re responding to one or two people who are essentially anti-social in their behavior without realizing they’re being anti-social or thinking in those terms that are ruining it for everybody else.”
Another river-related report looks at proposed boat launches. The report going to the urban planning committee next week looks at six proposed locations recommended by the River Valley Alliance. One of them off Whitemud Creek is being argued against by the Sierra Club because it is also the one location where there’s a fish hatchery.
Henderson said it’s similar to a situation the city has dealt with off Mill Creek Ravine. “The argument about Mill Creek is by closing off Mill Creek the way it is, we took it out of play as a spawning ground. So Whitemud is the only one we have left within the boundaries of the City of Edmonton.”
The issue is if a floating dock is installed and used only by canoeists, there won’t be a problem. However, if someone rolls a power boat down there to gain access to the river, then there would be a conflict.
The boat noise report is here at item 6.3
The boat launch report is here at item 6.3