Central Okanagan News
Ruling disappoints Mayor
Despite a recent appeal court decision, the district of Lake Country will continue to issue tickets to anybody that violates the noise bylaw.
As reported in a previous Castanet story, the BC Court of Appeal recently reversed a lower court decision which prohibited model aircraft from flying on farmland.
The ruling will bring clubs back to a rural area that had been previously banned in an October BC Supreme Court decision, after the district of Lake Country acted on complaints made by neighbours.
Lake Country mayor James Baker said he was "very disappointed" with the decision, saying it's disruptive to the subdivision which borders the makeshift airstrip. "All the people that live near there are very upset with having these planes buzzing around their homes all the time."
"The club can argue that airplanes fly over all the time, but you get used to big planes going by, and they're soon gone. These things buzz all day."
"One of the neighbours can't keep chickens anymore, they die getting so stressed with these things buzzing overhead all the time," he said. "She doesn't have that as a source of income anymore and I think is in danger of losing her farm status, because she's not producing any farm products."
The court battle has cost the district more than $60,000 so far, but the cost is worth it in the defence of local homeowners Baker said.
"We enforce the regulations that we have in terms of noise by issuing tickets, and if they don't pay the tickets, then we have to try to get the court to order them to do so."
"People have invested in those properties, they have a right to be able to enjoy it," he said.
The district tried to negotiate some restrictions on hours of flying and possibly allowing only electric engines instead of gas, he said. But the club refused to meet with them.
Now the district will go back to using the noise bylaw to issue tickets.
"And we will issue tickets every time a neighbour complains about the noise disturbing their peace and quiet."
"It costs us too much for somebody that's being a bad neighbour, but what else can we do? Just let everyone do whatever they want?"
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