The Sylvan Lake Quiet Enjoyment Initiative (QEI) recently approached Council to ask for their cooperation and help to reduce noise pollution on the lake.
A representative from the QEI, Kent Lyle, spoke to Council about the effects excessive noise pollution can have on the area.
“Studies have shown noise pollution can have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of humans, wildlife and even fish,” Lyle explained.
After forming, the QEI found noise problems stemming from one main source, boats without proper mufflers.
It is part of the group’s initiative to inform those who use the lake about why the use of proper mufflers on boats is important.
“If you keep the proper muffler [on the boats] then there isn’t a problem with noise,” said Lyle, adding, “Motorcycles are nothing compared to a boat without the proper muffler.”
He said a motorcycle driving along the roads in the summer is like a wind-up toy when compared to modified boats.
Lyle quoted a statistic from a Leger survey from the 2016 RE/MAX recreational Property Report which states approximately 96 per cent of Albertans consider a quiet atmosphere to be the most important feature when planning time away in a cottage or cabin.
According to this survey, which was conducted amongst all Canadians not just Albertans, peace and quiet ranked above the need for privacy, with 91 per cent of Canadian polled.
According to the Navigable Waters Act, all powerboats within eight kilometres of shoreline are required to have adequate noise abatement systems in use. Under this act boats with outboard and inboard/outboard motors are not considered a problem.
“This isn’t about banning all boats,” said Lyle. “It’s about educating people about having the right mufflers so we can all enjoy our lake.”
The goal of the QEI isn’t to punish others but to encourage and promote a “positive, more respectful and sustainable environment.”
In doing so, the group, which is a subcommittee of the Water Stewardship Society, hopes to partner with Town Council to promote the work of the QEI.
“We both benefit in a show of support,” Lyle said to Council.
Ultimately, Lyle said the group would like to see a member of Council come to the meetings and bring information back to the Town. Currently the committee has councillors from the nearby summer villages sitting on it.
Currently the QEI has the support of Summer Villages of Alberta, which consists of 51 municipalities in the province.
“We all want to enjoy our lake, and [the QEI] wants to work with Council to ensure everyones enjoyment,” Lyle said.
Lyle also asked Council to consider a $2,000 grant for the QEI, to help the organization to continue operating and educating the public.
Over the past couple of years the QEI has operated solely on $2,000 awarded from the Summer Villages of Norglenwold and Jarvis Bay.
The grant is used to produce pamphlets, signage and door-to-door distribution among other items.
“The noise on the lake is getting worse every year, and we want to do something about it,” Lyle said.