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Jay weighs in on acceptable levels

- June 20th, 2012

Reader and all-around fine guy Jay Menard tried to leave a comment in response to our discussion of acceptable noise levels at London concerts, below — but it appears his comment was too long for the blog tool to handle. If you ever have a comment that goes longer than the tool allows, just e-mail it to me and I’ll post it here as a separate blog post.

Jay writes:

Gil,

Are you seriously going to say that, because Dan doesn’t live downtown, he has no right to an opinion? Really? If so, I hope you are this vociferous in your criticism of those who do not meet your exacting standards of having a right to free speech. I may have missed it, but I don’t believe I’ve seen you chastising those old, white males protesting abortions that they’ll never have outside of the hospital; I must have missed your denigration of those non-university-aged Quebecers who have joined the “Casserole” protests.

That type of “you don’t know what you’re talking about” attitude is exactly the old world thinking that keeps holding London back. This medium-sized city, with big-city aspirations, is regularly held back by small-town thinking. We grow by listening to all opinions and debating them on their merit — not their geographic origin.

When I lived in Montreal (wait, I was away from London for about 15 years of my life… perhaps I shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion), I lived near the areas where there were frequent evening festivals and activity. In our youth, we wanted to be close to a vibrant, exciting downtown. As our priorities changed, we moved to quieter areas. But, suffice to say, we’d have been comfortable staying and putting up with the noise.

A little noise once in a while is a good thing. It’s a sign of a vibrant city. You want absolute silence, you’ll end up getting what Downtown London has long been accused of being — a graveyard. Perhaps those two new buildings downtown shouldn’t be called the Renaissance — rather, it may be more apt to call them The Tombstones.

It’s not about young versus old (and young people were likely loud and obnoxious when you were young too), as you seem to indicate. I know many people older than I who love a good concert — and these are people with disposable income who usually have no interest in going downtown.

If this was every night, I understand. It’s weekends and for festivals. If you have an argument against why this is in the greater good for the city, I’d be willing to hear it. But I certainly wouldn’t be so arrogant as to denounce your beliefs simply because of who you are or where you live. Ideas are ideas. By forcing people to pass various tests to meet your approval, you may be missing out on a lot of great ideas.

– Jason Menard

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5 comments

  1. a says:

    Urban Planners agree. the way to invigorate a moribund, abandoned downtown is to encourage the proliferation and intercourse of cultural outlets, youth, artists, entertainment, unique shopping, and fun lifestyle amenities.

  2. Experience it before forming opinion says:

    We’re unclear as to how this blasting artifically-enhanced noise
    profits the City, or its image,when residents are unhappy and making
    their complaints public..
    Does any other city boast that it condones noise and lawbreaking
    as a way to bring in new businesses and families ?
    Who is profiting except the promoters, performers and sometime an
    insensitive charity? Filling the parks does not fill the shopping streets.
    It’s logical to suggest that those promoting this noisy experience
    before working against those residents who are directly affected.
    For media to promote something and try to influence Council votes
    without due diligence is not “free speech” but unaccountability.
    There must be other locations where current youth can be indulged
    - but not at the expense of the lifestyle those grownup people who
    fund the city through property taxes.
    When we lived in Toronto it was one of the highlights of summer to
    hear the symphony playing gentle music from Varsity Stadium. and
    at one time London was known for this approach to communty life.

  3. Experience it before forming opinion says:

    Come on, let’s not undermine the right of London neighbourhoods to try to
    maintain their amenities and keep up their area property values.
    Entertainment entrepreneurs should not be allowed to ride rough-shod over
    them without a proper hearing, any more than land developers.
    Have yet to see proof that exploiting this public land benefits the commercial
    downtown area, enabling it to add more taxes moneyto the public purse.
    The argument that today’s “youth” are entitled to be obnoxious is silly. Why?
    Think back to the youth of some older Londoners, voluntarily spent overseas
    on battlefields.

  4. a says:

    @Experience it before forming opinion…

    The image of a sophisticated, forward-looking vibrant city is often described by those who know, study and “experience” these things, as being fun, exciting, even noisy and pulsating with the essence of a certain vitality that exudes from its capacity to cultivate, sustain and promote a robust cultural component that is informed by providing arts venues, sponsoring arts festivals, and nurturing artists.

    The City of London often has workshops, conducts studies, pays highly compensated consultants for the “magic advice and ingredients” with which to try to aspire to become a “Creative City.” But clearly, decisions such as the one at hand, can only be seen as antagonistic to these goals and will serve only to condemn London to the sidelines of provincial irrelevance.

    If you don’t believe me, visit similar-sized cities in Europe and the US, as a comparison…and be ready to be embarrassed by the contrast.

    Obviously petty, short-sighted leadership and misplaced priorities have, and continue to suck away at the source of vigour, vitality and lively hopes for this city.

    Citizens here should consider themselves lucky to have musicians, artists, and performers pay a visit here as they do, and do eveything to extend the welcome, but I think even Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk and Mozart would cringe at having to pack up early and not have the opportunity to play “eine keine nacchtmusik” (a little night music) under the stars at the bewitching time of the evening due to the silly curfew being proposed.

  5. question says:

    Update: 90 decibel limit passed by London City Council Tuesday, June 27, 2012.

    Question: Who will monitor this? Who will make sure decibel meter is available, properly calibrated and charged?

    By the way, most city trucks, snow removal equipment and other landscape and construction equipment, fire and police sirens ALWAYS register above 90 decibels. Is it time to impose a limit on this noise pollution as well?

    If the concern is noise pollution why isn’t the City concerned about this and opt to buy new equipment?

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