Anti-loitering “white noise” too loud after decibels rise
A noise similar to the sound of an analog cable channel with no signal, meant to keep loiterers away from the surroundings of a McDonald’s restaurant at Douglas and View streets in downtown Victoria, has irked one Victoria resident who says a recent increase in decibels of the anti-loitering measure has gone too far.
“The ‘white noise’ is so loud that it makes me want to cross the street and that’s not right. It’s much louder than it used to be,” said a Victoria businessman, wishing to remain anonymous, who contacted VibrantVictoria.ca about the issue. “I can imagine this is a difficult thing to enforce, but the City should look into this as the noise is extremely bothersome to anyone with a legitimate need to stand next to the restaurant while waiting for a bus or standing at the crosswalk, particularly during regular business hours. This is a noise the operators have full control over and if other restaurants broadcasted such a loud noise all day I’m sure there would be objections,” he added.
VibrantVictoria.ca was contacted about the issue after the Victoria resident filed a bylaw complaint on January 14th with the City of Victoria’s Bylaw Enforcement Division. The complaint, received by VibrantVictoria.ca and reproduced below with permission, states:
The McDonalds at Douglas and View downtown has an amplified “white noise” coming from their external speakers at a very high volume at all hours of the day and night.
I enquired with a manager yesterday, he said “the owners want it as loud as we can make it”.
I submit that the noise is more irritating and louder than any street music you would allow, and the business has every ability to decrease the noise without interfering with the operation of the business.
When contacted about the matter, a source with the City of Victoria’s Bylaw Enforcement Division said that the noise projected by the restaurant is meant to deter loitering and that is not frowned upon by City Hall. “As long as the noise is not over the acceptable decibel level, which it most likely is not considering the location of the restaurant and the level of noise downtown streets are subjected to, there is nothing we (City Hall) can do,” said the bylaw division employee.
With respect to this particular issue, City Hall has yet to look into the details of the complaint as the case had not been assigned to anyone in the department.
It was also learned that in cases similar to this one, in order for City Hall to act, more complaints about the noise will need to be received. “We’ll react when more complaints come in. In some cases one individual may be unhappy with the conduct of a business or activity on a property and contact City Hall but that does not mean we necessarily have a reason to react,” added the City Hall source.
On VibrantVictoria.ca’s discussion forum, a discussion thread dedicated to the region’s McDonald’s restaurants has already spurred some debate over the issue. Forum member “gumgum” wrote that he “walked by [the restaurant] yesterday evening and… [the noise] was incredibly loud. I was walking on other side of View [Street] and I had to practically yell over the noise so my companion could hear me. I couldn’t believe it.” Member “davek” wrote that if “the noise is consistent and annoying, [McDonald's] shouldn’t be permitted to project it into a public space.”
The Victoria resident who filed the complaint with the City remains optimistic that if bylaw officers decide to visit the restaurant and hear the noise for themselves, they’ll be convinced the volume is too loud. “It’s ludicrous for everyone to be subjected to this. It’s definitely a repellent, both to loiterers and potential customers,” he said.
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Responses to this Headline or Article
The five most recent replies to VibrantVictoria.ca's discussion forum's McDonald's restaurants in Victoria thread, the most relevant thread to the above headline or article:
pontcannaApr 01, 2012 at 10:25 pm
Quote: This afternoon Dylan and I were passing by the McDonald's on West Saanich Road (Royal Oak Shopping Center) and noticed paramedics performing CPR on a man who appeared to have suffered a heart attack in the restaurant's parking lot.
I knew this fellow, a former work colleague. What a way to go, perhaps a warning for some of us...
Mike K.Apr 02, 2012 at 10:18 am
...so he passed away after all, hey? I'm sorry to hear that :(
sebberryApr 02, 2012 at 10:59 am
It's always sad for friends and family, but I think I'd rather go quickly like that than spend two years in and out of the hospital with something really nasty :(
VicHockeyFanMay 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm
I checked out the new downtown renovations today, the upstairs is not open yet.
Ya, it's not bad.
They have the same chairs as Bin 4, in one of the few table areas. :)
Now they have lots more individual stool seating.
sdwright.vicMay 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm
Downtown MC D's now ghetto chic?