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Airport Expansion Proposal - Public Comments


For: Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto City Council
Subject: Community Noise Standards for the Toronto Island Airport

The question really is, Who sets the standards for allowable noise in a community? the people or the government? and which level of government?

And why is the city of Toronto letting a federal agency like the Port Authority set noise standards for the city, despite complaints from concerned residents?

We in the community would like to think that the community has a say in setting noise standards for its own area. The City also plays an essential role, in establishing city-wide noise standards, to limit noise to allowable levels in all residential areas.

The third player in setting noise standards for Toronto's Waterfront is a federal agency, The Toronto Port Authority. The Port Authority seems to assume that their federal powers trump city authority and outweigh community concerns.

In the current study of jets on the waterfront, the Port Authority is attempting to establish new standards for acceptable noise, around the island airport, which the TPA manages. These new noise standards come from Porter Air and their aircraft supplier, Bombardier.

These federal noise standards are not accurate measures of noise. For example, Bombardier's Urban Sound Scale says that automobiles on a highway are louder than jets landing and taking off on the waterfront. How stupid does the federal government think people are in Toronto?

Jets are louder than cars. Federal noise standards are wrong. We're dealing with the same Transport Canada that brought the world Lac Megantic.

The Urban Sound Scale, used by Porter and Bombardier, and the Federal Port Authority, is so erroneous, it raises questions of how believable are Port Authority business plans for expansion of the island airport. I, for one, don't believe them.

Still, it seems like the Port Authority has most of the power here. The TPA wants to expand the airport, and they want people on the waterfront to accept their noisier noise standards.

But some people, living along the waterfront, do not want to live with all the noise that the federal port authority plans to impose on this community, with their island jetport.

In this spirit, we are proposing Community Noise Standards, which will serve this community better than misleading and inaccurate federal noise standards.

It would be appreciated if the enclosed Community Noise Standards can be included in the city study of jets on the waterfront.

Thank you, if you can help with the use of Community Noise Standards in Toronto.

Max Moore, Harbourfront Community Association




Toronto's Harbourfront Community - Community Noise Standards

Noise Comparisons With Both DBA & DBC Decibel Measurements

guiet nights 40 dba = 45 dbc

quiet room indoors 45 dba = 50 dbc

quiet balcony outdoors 50 dba = 60 dbc

passing cars on a busy street 60 dba = 70 dbc

loud television, vacuum cleaner 65 dba = 75 dbc

loud stereo, power lawnmower 70 dba = 80 dbc

louder bass sound, garbage trucks 75 dba = 88 dbc

loud motorcycles 80 dba = 95 dbc

live concert sound systems 85 dba = 100 dbc

fire engines, sirens 90 dba = 110 dbc

lightning 100 dba = 120 dbc


airport noise, airplane flying overhead 68 dba = 78 dbc

more bass noise, airplane takeoff (Q400) 70 dba = 82 dbc

airplane taxiing 73 dba = 85 dbc

airplane landing (braking) 75 dba = 88 dbc

engine maintenance run-up 78 dba = 90 dbc

Noise Measurement Note: Adjusted DBA Decibel readings are approximately 20% lower than Complete DBC Decibel readings, for the same sound, as DBA adjusted decibels do not measure bass noise. Propeller and jetplane ground noise are mostly bass noise. DBC Decibels are the only way to measure an airport's loud roaring bass noise.

It's also important to note that airplane noise readings are taken from a larger distance than other noise comparisons. Taken up close, airplane noise readings are much higher.

Based on these Community Noise Standards, we recommend the following ...

Harbourfront Community Noise Management Proposals for Toronto Island Airport

1. No engine run-ups before 8 am, or after 8 pm, except for emergency purposes.

2. No island airport commercial flights after 10 pm, as late night noise is the worst noise.

3. The City should consider stopping the use of Adjusted DBA Decibel measurements, and use Complete DBC Decibels for monitoring airport noise, as DBC Decibels are a more accurate measure of noise, because of the heavy bass sound in airport noise.

4. Cancel city permits for overnight construction at the Island Airport, as overnight construction wakes the neighborhood. It's unhealthy to live with loud noise all day, and all night, every day of the year. There should be limits on the noise we have to live with.




For: Airport Community Liaison Committee - Noise Sub-Committee
From: Max Moore, Harbourfront Community Association, Feb 2, 2012

Subject: Airport Noise Measurements - Adjusted DBA Decibels or Complete DBC Decibels

Airport Noise is measured in decibels, but there are two types of decibel measurements.

Toronto Island Airport is using an invalid noise measurement, with DBA Decibels.

Adjusted Decibel readings, called DBA Decibels, measure only 80% of the noise, while Complete Decibel readings, called DBC Decibels, measure the full sound spectrum.

City Hall is hearing reports of 65 DBAs of airport noise, while Island Airport neighbours are hearing 80 DBCs of airport noise. It's the same noise, with different measurements.

DBA decibels are discounted by approx 20% because DBA decibels don't measure bass sounds. DBC measurements, which include bass noise, are a more accurate measure of both rock concerts and airport noise because there's so much bass in these noises.

Noise meters can display noise measurements as both DBAs and DBCs, simply by pressing a button. When you change from DBC to a DBA display, the decibel reading is lowered by approximately 20%, simply by removing bass readings. All this does is to change the measurement, not the sound. It's like advertising a sale price and still charging full price.

If you're managing sound for a concert in a public park, for example, a policeman might ask you to turn down the volume because people are complaining. Some soundmen would show the policeman the lower noise reading of 80 DBA. It's dishonest, but if you show the more accurate 100 DBC decibel display, the cop might stop the concert.

Similarly, airports report noise measurements in DBA decibels to minimize their noise reports, for public relations purposes. Lower numbers help convince city hall that the airport is operating within legal noise limits, when, in truth, it is breaking the law.

This is why Harbourfront residents are requesting that Airport Noise Measurements be reported in Complete DBC Decibels. For the airport to continue using adjusted and averaged DBA noise measurements, discounted by 20%, is simply lying with statistics.

Adjusting and discounting airport noise measurements by 20% is dishonest and wrong. Surely the Island Airport can do better for its waterfront neighbours than trying to baffle them with bullshit.

Harbourfront residents deserve more honesty from a federal agency like the Port Authority. Measuring airport noise with DBC Decibels would be a good way to start.

If the Federal Port Authority persists in providing misleading noise reports, perhaps responsibility for managing the Toronto's Port should be taken away from the federal government and returned to the city.

At least a Port Authority reporting to the city would pay its city taxes.





This report is part of an ongoing community exchange.
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