Yukon News

City proposes updates to sound and graffiti bylaws

Lori Garrison Wednesday April 5, 2017

Joel Krahn/Yukon News


Graffiti covers a building on Second Avenue. A proposed bylaw would make it mandatory for property owners to remove graffiti within 30 days of discovering it.

The City of Whitehorse is considering changes to its maintenance bylaws that would stregthen enforcement of rules surrounding noise, graffiti and snow-covered accessible parking spaces.

Councillors debated the proposal during the April 4 standing committee meeting.

The city already has a sound ordinance in effect, prohibiting noise that would “disturb the quiet, rest, enjoyment or comfort of any person of reasonable sensitivity.” Mayor Dan Curtis said residents have recently complained about traffic-related noise.

The changes primarily involve the ways noise issues can be reported and resolved, said Dave Pruden, the city’s manager of bylaw services. Under the current rules, reporting a sound disturbance was complaint-based, which means that if a bylaw officer noted a disturbance — say, a vehicle with an exceptionally loud muffler — they would be unable to issue a warning or ticket unless someone called to complain.

Under the proposed changes, a bylaw officer would now be able to issue that warning based on their own discretion.

“Most times we would just give a warning,” Pruden said.

The proposed changes also make it mandatory for property owners to remove snow and ice from accessible parking spaces before 11 a.m. on the day following a snowfall or upon the request of a bylaw officer. This is to address concerns for people with mobility issues, Pruden said.

“We were finding that sometimes people wouldn’t clear these spaces right away … and we want to make sure those spots are given more attention so that people with mobility challenges can access them,” Pruden said.

The proposed bylaw changes also make it mandatory for people to remove graffiti from their properties within 30 days of “becoming aware” of the graffiti. This issue revolves around concerns mainly centered in the downtown core area about persistent graffiti.

“The downtown area is obviously more visible because of the traffic that moves through it,” Pruden said. “We want to keep that area clean and tidy…. So it doesn’t look run down and people feel safe to stay and shop in that area.”

Councillors are concerned about how the graffiti rules would be enforced. Curtis asked how bylaw officers would prove an owner has “become aware” of graffiti and how the 30-day requirement would be enforced.

“Some people who are property owners might travel and it can be difficult to contact,” Curtis said.

Pruden said the 30-day period would begin when a bylaw officer issues a warning. But Pruden said there can be “extenuating circumstances,” which might extend the time frame, such as the need for special paints or a family emergency.

“Bylaw is interested in working with businesses to remove graffiti … we try to be as fair as possible,” Pruden said,

Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed bylaw changes at its regular meeting April 24.

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north_of_60 wrote:
12:57pm Thursday April 20, 2017

A building owner might decide it’s “art” and want to leave it.  The City has no right to decide what’s “art” and force anyone to decorate their building to the City’s arbitrary wishes.

Adirondak wrote:
10:03pm Wednesday April 19, 2017

There is a term for these sorts of issues: First World Problems.

Just sayin'... wrote:
2:36pm Wednesday April 19, 2017

Excepting the act itself, all evidence suggests there is a direct correlation between areas where graffiti artist hang out and paint with a decrease (that’s right, decrease) in other crimes that are infinitely more harmful and dangerous to both the public at large and the city’s reputation. If I owned a business I would welcome it. I’d basically have a handful of individuals deterring criminals from hanging around throughout the night (and I wouldn’t need to pay them). Further, if the city would designate certain areas that are “legal” to do graffiti, this will solve 90% of the issue (not that I view it as an issue myself). This has worked out well in other jurisdictions in Canada.

Cz wrote:
10:51pm Monday April 17, 2017

Why should the building owner be responsible for someone else’s vandalism? These clowns in office are just taking up space with moves like that.

Butch wrote:
7:29am Monday April 17, 2017

  We need a punker by-law. When young males are caught being punks for one thing or another they get a fifty dollar fine. This carries for the second conviction. On the third conviction they receive the fine plus a back-hander from an adult that sends them rolling backwards across the floor. This cycle repeats for future offences with the fines increasing by fifty dollars until the punk smartens up.

noise-bylaw wrote:
2:03am Sunday April 16, 2017

I agree with Pro Science Greenie…no to obnoxiously loud pipes on motorcycles and lack of mufflers/proper exhaust on cars. Try living in a neighbourhood with the noisy motorcycles. I would also do a bylaw for diesel trucks (esp. driven by young males) who coal roll. What is that you ask? When the stupid a#$holes drive up and blast black smoke at pedestrians, cyclists, other motorists in the neighbourhood or driving around showing off. Time to crack down. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Noise in excess is a problem and a nuisance.

car user wrote:
12:01am Friday April 14, 2017

Still gonna straight pipe it. #braaapppp

north_of_60 wrote:
5:52pm Tuesday April 11, 2017

@moe “In fact, send out some of the seat warmers at the Sustainability Department to sustainably clean up the graffiti.  Get some use out of them or others who might not be otherwise accomplishing a whole lot.”

Exactly!!  Graffiti is a sustainable resource, it’s the responsibility of the Sustainability Department to clean it up.  Let’s see something useful from them for their six figure salaries.

Aspiring Council Member wrote:
5:05pm Tuesday April 11, 2017

Speaking of the graffiti issue,  I plan to will run for council next term, We need a dramatic change of culture there. Out with the old and in with some new faces and ideas. Sampson and Dan are the best of the lot.

Woodcock complaining that they are paid too little, the fired city employee absent for so many meetings, other councillors who just use platitudes and seem to care little about our city which is run down and noisy and dangerous in so many areas. Our tax dollars wasted in so many ways.

Council has even given away the trails to noisy recreational vehicles which have turned quiet greenbelts into race tracks. And the enforcement has not kept up so they just go anywhere. And what about all the beer cans they leave at trailheads, a good indicator of all the drinking that goes on.

The city needs to step back to those gruff non nonsense councillors who call it for what it is and are not afraid to say no for the betterment of our community.

moe wrote:
4:21pm Tuesday April 11, 2017

Victims of property crime are being held a lot more accountable than the goofs who buy their spray paint in local stores to go around pretending they’re gansta’s.

The city should be removing the graffiti, or doing something to stop the rampant crime against business owners in downtown Whitehorse.  Drop a couple of RCMP positions and employ 3x as many gum shoes to walk the streets or ride around on bicycles, electric scooters, whatever, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.  Do something useful, don’t just sluff off the responsibility and then blame the victim.

In fact, send out some of the seat warmers at the Sustainability Department to sustainably clean up the graffiti.  Get some use out of them or others who might not be otherwise accomplishing a whole lot.

snowbunnie wrote:
11:47am Tuesday April 11, 2017

“The downtown area is obviously more visible because of the traffic that moves through it,” Pruden said. “We want to keep that area clean and tidy…. So it doesn’t look run down and people feel safe to stay and shop in that area.”
I DO feel unsafe walking down main street, however it’s not because of the graffiti!  It’s the public drinking, aggressive pan-handling, drug dealing, fighting, etc.  Clean and Tidy?? walk behind TD bank -disgusting old broken toilet, junk, garbage, that’s been there for at least a year.  and you’re worried about Graffiti?  what a joke.

Harry Fleick wrote:
6:14pm Monday April 10, 2017

  While we\re whinig I would like to add a few concerns regarding vehicles. 1. Loads insecurely attached to the back of pick-ups and flat decks. 2. The blinding high intensity beams that are not required except for long distance out of town driving and even then it’s questionable. 3. Smoked drivers windows so you can’t make eye contact wondering if the other driver sees you or not. 4. The annoying drilled out mufflers that make so much noise and are really for self attention, no other purpose. 5. The very uncool zub,zub,zub bass beat that rattles your window and again is for self gratification no other reason.

Dan Olsen wrote:
4:55pm Monday April 10, 2017

I wish we could round up all the liberal whiners in the yukon and make them get non government jobs for 5 years, and take away thier iPads. THESE ARE NOT THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING YUKONERS

Not up to the business wrote:
11:46am Monday April 10, 2017

I don’t like enforcing that business owners have to clean up graffiti right away.  Here we are again punishing the victims of crime.

I imagine that enforcing something like this might lead to some vigilante justice to catch the culprits and that doesn’t always end well (again because we seem to like to protect the criminals).

ProScience Greenie wrote:
1:43pm Sunday April 9, 2017

Just plain wrong to force building owners to remove graffiti if bylaw is doing absolutely nothing to stop the vandals that are spray painting private property in the first place.

Mr. M. - for sure so many bad drivers in CoW. Still no excuse for having a muffler so loud that it is at jackhammer levels. Everyone in a hundred yards of such a bike has to stop all conversation. Those bikes are heard coming several km away on the highway, louder than a big rig fully loaded b-train with a ‘screaming Jimmy’ engine. Surely you get how loud and offensive it is Mr M. You have a right to safety but not at the cost of everyone around you. I would suggest a trip to the motorcycle shop for a reasonable quiet muffler and a nice warm set of hi-viz riding gear so those crappy drivers can see you better and your noise pollution is minimized to acceptable levels. I’m all about personal freedom and liberty Mr M but not when yours violates mine to such a unreasonable degree.

Note to all: you can get a sound level app for your smart phone that you can use to get an idea of just how loud things are. Take a vid/photo of offending bike/vehicle and email it to bylaw/RCMP.

Holly Henderson wrote:
9:24am Saturday April 8, 2017

Noise. Loud, scraping, beeping, snow removal when there was NO snow to remove on my street! ???Starting at 11 pm to 4 am in my hood. Will noise made by COW be included in this new bylaw? I watched a grater go through my narrow back alley the other night…not necessary. Then I heard them go through my back alley AGAIN at 4 am? Too many light and power poles in the vicinity. How about go and clear the ice and snow mountain of doom at the access of the Black Street Stairs or clear the ice patches of death from the Millennium Trail instead? Please and thank you!

Mr M wrote:
9:09am Saturday April 8, 2017

I have a loud muffler on my Harley (It was sold to me so I assume it is legal) because of the idiot drivers in this town that do not know how to drive, check their mirrors or are to busy on their cell phones (which is illegal to talk while driving) also the fact people are eating while driving. My suggestion is pull over and stuff your face or talk. I am much safer with a louder muffler. I don’t ride around to scare people or be an aging hipster. So don’t be so hypocritical ProScience Greenie as I am sure you do things that aren’t right and legal. The City should have a place for these kids or artists to paint on and show their work as some of it is very nice.

ProScience Greenie wrote:
12:24pm Friday April 7, 2017

No exaggeration harley. Back in the day a lone wolf HD was OK but now with so many aging hipsters thinking they’re cool rebels by owning a obnoxiously loud HD its time to end the craziness of all that ugly unwanted noise. 

One exception would be the Ride for Dad thing - a good cause for one day and a chance for HD riders to play dress-up in leather and pretend to be tough outlaw bikers, then re-install a real muffler that works back on their bikes.

Alan wrote:
8:24pm Thursday April 6, 2017

The city is busy working on exemptions to the noise that occurs on city trails. Because they have approved most of the motorized trails they will be grandfathered into the new bylaw so that the bylaw does not cover skidoos and ATVs.

Yablit wrote:
7:29pm Thursday April 6, 2017

Sad to say, but if someone will cover the bylaw building with good test gratify, it will make such an improvement…

harley wrote:
7:11pm Thursday April 6, 2017

@proscience greenie…exaggerate much?

voice of reason wrote:
10:37pm Wednesday April 5, 2017

1:The current noise bylaw runs from 7am to 11pm. There are no bylaw officer working after those hours to enforce the bylaw. Hire a 24 hour officer to respond to complaints when they are most bothersome.
2: The noise bylaw should also limit heavy construction noise (road building etc) within city limits/residential areas. No 24 hour permits for heavy construction and limit hours for heavy construction to 7am to 7pm. No weekends.

Art critique wrote:
5:20pm Wednesday April 5, 2017

It will be interesting to see how that plays out in places such as “Graffiti Alley”, which appears to be an accepted art installation. And where the line will be drawn between “graffiti” and “mural”...

Govvie wrote:
3:04pm Wednesday April 5, 2017

I worked in a building that had the same ugly graffiti on the side for years. It had even been edited by other “artists” a few times. The building owner refused to do anything about it. It’s an embarrassment. This bylaw sounds like a good idea.

ProScience Greenie wrote:
2:08pm Wednesday April 5, 2017

Does that mean that finally we will see a crackdown on the very rude people that drive Harley-Davidson motorcycles with mufflers that are so incredible loud that they cause small children to cry and songbirds to flee in panic? Hope so. And no, check the stats, your loud mufflers don’t make you safer, they just make you obnoxious show offs.

To you folks driving nice quiet motorcycles, carry on, you’re awesome.

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