RIGHT TO QUIET SOCIETY
359 - 1985 Wallace Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6R 4H4 Phone (604) 222-0207
Looking Back: The Right to Quiet Society Celebrates its 30th Anniversary
This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection. A historic and commendable event! This organization was established in 1982 by "John Beltz and a half dozen Vancouver area citizens increasingly concerned about the ever growing noise in our acoustic environment .... and came together to counter it." Through various ways it began its efforts to inform the public of this serious environmental threat to our present society. It made its voice heard over the din, gradually drawing a North America-wide membership.
In the June 1992 NEWSLETTER, there was recognition of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection. It proposed the following aims: first, to overcome the popular idea that noise is the price of progress and that society must be resigned to its presence and its profound impact on our physical and psychological health. Secondly, it aimed to have noise pollution recognized by both provincial and federal governments, who should enact suitable legislation to control the noise problem.
The Society's concerns have been communicated to the public in the following ways: NOISELETTER, initially published twice and since 2004 three times a year to its membership and the Vancouver Public Libraries, letters to the editorial pages of various newspapers, both locally and internationally, and e-mails around the world. As well, the Society was represented on the Vancouver Urban Noise Task Force in 1997, has participated in the annual International Noise Awareness Day since its inception in 1996, in partnership with many other groups interested in this important event, and assisted students' school projects or advised individuals with many different noise problems. News releases were issued and proclamations requested from numerous municipalities across the country.
Identification of various noise problems were delineated and continue to the present; namely, aircraft noise, loud amplified music in public places such as parks, restaurants, stores and malls; restricted hours for power tools in gardens; designated days/times for construction work in residential areas; loud electronic warning signals from commercial vehicles; noisy motorcycles and hot rod cars with deliberately altered mufflers; personal watercraft; boom cars playing stereos with excessive noise levels, and many more.
What successes have been achieved in the decade following the Society's founding? The Vancouver Parks Board as well as the Vancouver Regional Parks System have instituted "quiet beaches" policies. Also, the Vancouver City Council passed a by-law for construction-free Sundays. The B.C. Parks Department adopted guidelines for protecting parks and wilderness areas by restricting low-flying, sightseeing aircraft over certain areas in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Finally, copies of the June 1992 Right to Quiet Newsletter were sent to all the major municipalities in the province, the Attorney-General, and Health and Environment ministers.
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