Sylvan Lake’s Quiet Enjoyment Initiative

People who live in or visit the Sylvan Lake watershed are entitled to enjoy it. The law says so. However, a few disrespectful guests choose to emit excessive levels of noise that adversely affect the recreational lake environment.

That’s where the Quiet Enjoyment Initiative (QEI) team of the SLWSS comes in. Led by subcommittee chairman Kent Lyle, dedicated members have analyzed the noise pollution situation in the watershed, classified the main noise sources, considered community standards for noise emissions, and are now ready to introduce an action plan for adoption by watershed municipalities.

More than a decade ago member municipalities of the Sylvan Lake Management Plan Committee agreed that “Each municipality will adopt a by-law restricting the use of municipally owned land for the launching of boats without proper noise abatement mechanisms and such other by-laws as may be appropriate to eliminate one major source of noise pollution on the lake.” 

Since then powerboat technology has changed. Engine horsepower has increased with wake-boarding popularity. Sometimes mufflers are illegally bypassed. On-board sound systems can now command the attention of the whole watershed, even without an invitation to do so. Sounds like to travel long distances over water in summer and snow and ice in winter.

Noise levels are increasing everywhere. Sylvan Lake is not unique. Some lake communities already regulate their environments for the benefit of all. See the municipal bylaws that are enforced in BC.

BC Signs

 Signs posted at BC lakes.

According to the QEI team’s analysis these are the main sources of noise on or over Sylvan Lake, in order of overall negative impact on the environment and on the lake’s recreational users:

Powerboats that emit exhaust above the water line;

Loud music originating from any private or commercial boat;

Personal Watercraft (PWCs);

Quads, snow machines, ATVs, motorcycles & dirt bikes;

Aircraft (small planes, float planes, helicopters & water bombers).

The QEI team has worked closely with the Environmental Law Centre to understand the municipal laws and regulations for control of noise emissions. To view the legal research on “Municipal Powers to Address Noise from Recreational Use of Sylvan Lake, AB” by ELC staff council Adam Driedzic, click here.






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