About a hundred people had asked the City for help in 2020 to reduce the noise caused by rooftop dek hockey activities on Tessier Street. (File photo)
Contrary to what it announced in May 2022, the City of Rimouski will authorize the holding of dek hockey activities on the roof of the JMD Sports Center business on Tessier Street this summer.
Under an agreement between the City and the owners of the JMD Sports Center, the summer of 2022 was to be the last during which rooftop dek hockey was permitted on this building.
The City of Rimouski justifies itself by specifying that the initial agreement stipulated that if the company did not find another premises to carry out the activity , it could continue to operate at the same location in 2023.
Center sport JMD, which declined Radio-Canada's interview request, ultimately failed to find suitable premises last year, reveals Rimouski Mayor Guy Caron.
< p class="e-p">The City will thus authorize the holding of dek hockey games on the roof of the Tessier Street building in the summer of 2023 while waiting for the company to move.
This decision was taken in light of the conclusions of a sound study commissioned by the City of Rimouski from the firm Acoustec, of which Radio-Canada obtained a copy under the Access to Information Act.
< p class="e-p">The new results show that the continuous noise level amounts to approximately 46 decibels in the neighborhood, while the distinctive noise peaks associated with the practice of dek hockey amount to approximately 52 decibels. According to the firm, the results stand out little, in terms of decibels, compared to the noise recorded in the acoustic landscape of Rimouski.
However, the Bas-Saint-Laurent public health department had recommended in the fall of 2021 to consider relocating the outdoor hockey field, based, among other things, on a previous study which reported a noise level of 5.29 higher than normal decibels, an increase deemed significant and potentially affecting physical and psychological health.
The citizens' group, which has been complaining about noise since 2020, claims to have been made aware of the decision described as an about-face on March 15 during a meeting with the town planners of Rimouski.
The group is deeply disappointed to learn that the City finally authorized the holding of dek hockey activities on Tessier Street while waiting for the company to move. The group has about a hundred people.
The company installed some devices in 2021 to try to reduce the noise caused by dek hockey games. (File photo)
Sound level recordings were made in the vicinity of dek hockey between August 17 and 27, 2022. The firm Acoustec indicates that the choice of this period was based on holding an adult tournament on the weekend of August 19, 20 and 21, followed by a youth competition on Saturday August 27.
Sound readings were also taken outside game times to measure the usual sound environment.
The firm writes that the noise does not seem excessive , since quantitative analyzes do not establish with sufficient statistical confidence that their effects exceed those of other unpredictable noise events that occur naturally in the same area.
The study indicates, however, that certain noises attributable to sports activities (such as the use of plastic bands, an electronic whistle or the encouragement of supporters) remain recognizable in the local sound environment, with sound pressure levels higher than the background noise perceptible during the quietest moments, without commonly exceeding the average noise level considered.
The experts nuance by specifying that the evaluation of the harmful character for this type of noise is more a matter of the subjective perception of each one.
The firm nevertheless concludes that it questions the choice of such a location for a hockey field on a synthetic surface in an urban environment. She adds that the nearest residential building is about 15 meters away.
During the recordings made on August 20, 2022, the number of recognizable sound events during the game amounted to a maximum of 120 electronic whistle blasts, 635 clashes with plastic bands, sticks or playing surface, and 145 cheers, applause or shouts related to the game.
However, the company is still required to move its activities to another appropriate sector next summer. (File photo)
The study shows that the nuisance is not not as marked as one might have thought, believes the mayor of Rimouski, Guy Caron.
Two main mitigation measures were modeled by the firm Acoustec, either one that involves moving the ground play area to the rear of the existing building, and one that proposes adding a noise fence around the periphery of the current pitch at the roof.
The report argues that moving the playing surface would not be enough to improve the situation, as some 11% of the buildings would receive higher sound levels, but that building a peripheral sound absorbing screen should give quite comparable attenuations, perhaps -on read.
As activities will continue at the same location this summer, Rimouski Mayor Guy Caron says he wants to work with the owners of the Center sport JMD to find solutions that will reduce noise pollution for local residents.
< p class="e-p">We are currently using this report to try to get accommodations from [Centre] sport JMD who carry out dek hockey activities […]. We hope to eventually find a longer-term solution, he comments.
“The company has the right to exercise [… ], but with respect for citizens. »
— Guy Caron, Mayor of Rimouski
Mitigation measures have not yet been identified, says the mayor. The City of Rimouski is due to meet the owners of the JMD Sport Center next week.
The mayor reminds that the company is still required to move its activities to another sector appropriate to the next summer. The exercise of finding a new location will continue throughout the year, assures Mayor Caron.
In recent years, the Center sport JMD company has been forced to pay a fine five times for violating the noise by-law of the City of Rimouski.
With the collaboration of Marie-Christine Rioux
Noise and hockey dek: Rimouski hardens the tone, citizens express their dissatisfaction