A group of Brackendale residents is seeking new municipal bylaws to make Squamish a quieter place.
Last year, Diamond Head Development was given the green light by District of Squamish officials to build a 12-building duplex development at the end of Brennan Road in Brackendale. Since the 3.84-acre property was developed, neighbour Beverly Carson said she can’t get a good night’s sleep.
The buildings’ noisy heat exchange systems kick in day and night, she said, noting her house faces three of the units. Now, Carson is seeking to convince the district to change its regulations to limit the noise coming from heat pumps in town.
At the very least, the equipment should be accompanied by fencing or insulation to minimize sounds, she said.
“You can’t have a dinner conversation on the patio,” Carson said, noting a group of residents plan to present their concerns to council by mid-November.
Two years ago, heat pumps’ noise pollution hit the spotlight in the Lower Mainland. After a rally from residents, Port Coquitlam council voted unanimously in favour of handing out fines to the owners of loud heat pumps — $150 during the day and $300 at night — as the equipment’s decibel level was higher than that of the municipality’s noise bylaw.
The equipment has become the new norm, said Jason Wood, the owner of Diamond Head Development. The pumps are 300 to 400 per cent more efficient than gas furnaces, with a payback period of three to five years and savings thereafter, he said.
“They are a very environmentally friendly heat source,” Wood said, noting Diamond Head is researching ways to dampen the pumps’ sound.
The district has a noise bylaw that officials can use to assess noise generated from heat pumps and any other mechanical equipment, municipal spokesperson Christina Moore said.
“With the popularity of heat pumps in new construction growing, staff are looking at the building bylaw and whether amendments may be necessary to address the installation and operation of such mechanical equipment,” she wrote in an email to The Chief.