Anne-Marie Deryawa points towards the Heights at Mountain View building part of the Campus on Care on Carey Road. According to residents, the building’s complex mechanical and air-conditioning systems create a droning sound that has diminished quality of life in the neighbourhood. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Residents sound off over noise pollution from Saanich health care building

Anne-Marie Deryawa has grown and tended her Rowland Avenue garden for the last 30 years. But if you listen to her, her enjoyment of it has diminished since summer 2014, when the Heights at Mountain View part of the Campus on Care on Carey Road opened.

“I cannot enjoy my yard, many of my neighbours cannot enjoy their yard,” she said. As she speaks, she stands in her backyard with the seven-storey building peeking through the trees and bushes that line her fence. She said this greenery, which appears overgrown in parts, serve as a screen against what local residents consider noise pollution coming from the building.

Specifically, Deryawa and others who have contacted the Saanich News are concerned about the droning that comes from the building’s complex mechanical and air-conditioning systems located on the roof of the seven-storey building.

Deryawa said the droning is worse during the summer, when the heating system is running during the hot days. “Depending on which angle of the building you are at, the noise deepens or decreases.”

When Deryawa wants to work in her yard, she either turns on her water pump and her music. “Otherwise, all I hear is the constant downward droning of the heat pump,” she said.

Others have reported similar concerns.

Shelia Maxwell has lived in her Homer Road residence since 1964, having purchased it from her parents in 1974. So she knows the neighbourhood. “It is a lovely neighbourhood, close to many amenities and with a very congenial group of neighbours,” she said. Many, like Maxwell, were initially accepting of the building’s arrival. But its “irritating droning” has diminished this acceptance and diminished the quality of life for many including Maxwell.

Maxwell said a significant hearing loss requires her to wear a hearing aide. “If I want to sit out on my deck in the shade to read on warm days, I find I either have to remove my hearing aids or move indoors as the noise from the Heights is really very frustrating and irritating.”

The issue is not new. Neighbours, including the local neighbourhood association, has raised it in the past, dating back years.

Deanna Bogart, a spokesperson for the Baptist Housing Society, said the society reduced the height of a parapet wall on the top of the roof to save $70,000 to come within budget following construction delays in broadly confirming at least part of the claims that appear posted on the website of the Mount View Colquitz Community Association.

The society made this move after consulting an acoustic engineer, who said that lowering the wall would have a visual rather than an acoustic impact, she said.

She also added that the society has combined with the Capital Regional Hospital District to make improvements worth about $100,000 after residents had complained about the noise as part of its commitment to be a good neighbour and create a harmonious environment.

Testing before the improvements showed decibel levels of the system ranged between 55 and 60, she said.

That would have placed the building above the levels that Saanich permits. Section 7(b) of Saanich’s noise suppression bylaw provides that a heat pump should not operate at a level in excess of 50 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 45 decibels between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am.

Bogart said decibel levels have now fallen below 40 following the improvements, adding that the society has met existing local standards.

Megan Catalano, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, acknowledged that staff had looked into complaints from neighbours. “Saanich bylaw enforcement followed up on the complaints and took a number of noise readings,” she said. “No contravention was found. Saanich spoke with CRD staff indicating the concerns and asked them to see what else they may be able to do to address residents concerns. We also provided residents with contact information for key CRD staff.”

Catalano declined to release the noise decibel readings that enforcement officers have taken, while investigating the complaints. “They form part of the investigative file and are not typically disclosed,” she said.

Maxwell acknowledged efforts by Baptist Housing to diminish the noise. “But it certainly hasn’t solved the problem for those of us living along Homer Road, especially in hot weather when the air-conditioning units are going full blast,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Three Greater Victoria schools claim climate awards

Awards handed out by British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association

Tips from BC Ferries for travelling this Canada Day long weekend

Tips from BC Ferries for smooth sailing this Canada Day long weekend

Field named for longtime Hampton Little League volunteer

‘Curt Waldner Field’ recognizes years of dedication put in by former little league dad

Saanich honours lifetime of conservation efforts

Mary Haig-Brown wins environmental award for 40 years of extensive volunteer work

Sidney lowers flag to half mast in honour of former fire chief

Mel Baldwin died June 21 at the age of 83; served Sidney Fire for 46 years

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Most Read