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TBM council gives winery extended noise exemption

The vineyard requested leniency for wedding events booked through the summer and met with the town and neighbours to alleviate concerns
Georgian Hills Vineyards on Grey County 2.

And the DJ played on … for another hour.

The Blue Mountains council has agreed to give a one-hour extension in the form of a noise bylaw exemption for weddings being hosted this summer at Georgian Hills Vineyard.

Council agreed to the extension of the exemption at its meeting on May 29 after receiving a delegation from vineyard representatives as well as neighbouring property owner Peter Franklyn.

Amanda Jerome and Robert Ketchin spoke to council on behalf of the vineyard and asked that the noise exemption be extended from 11 p.m. to midnight on nights they are hosting weddings at the popular vineyard.

At a committee of the whole meeting earlier in the month, council had granted a noise exemption that required music at weddings to end at 11 p.m.

“We have taken the feedback from the last council meeting and are working together with the staff and neighbours to find a common ground to mitigate the amplified sounds coming from our venue,” said Jerome, who asked that council consider extending the exemption from 11 p.m. to midnight.

Jerome said the previous meeting was the first time the vineyard was aware of noise concerns from neighbours and had already booked a number of wedding events for this summer for which the couples had been told the music could play until midnight.

“We are grateful for the approval of these events with noise to be capped at 11 p.m., however, the existing approval poses challenges for the plans our couples already have in place for this season of weddings given that we’ve been planning business as usual for this season with a midnight shut off as we had not received any indication of noise issues for six years in this event business operation. We humbly request the extension of the noise bylaw for the upcoming summer season,” she said.

Both Jermone and Ketchin said after learning of the noise concerns registered by neighbours at the previous meeting, they held a site meeting with town staff and neighbours and were working to alleviate the issue. The vineyard has taken a number of steps to address the concerns including the future usage of the Noise Aware cell phone app.

“We take our neighbours’ concerns very seriously,” said Ketchin.

Franklyn spoke to council at the meeting and thanked the vineyard for immediately working to address the noise concerns.

“There is a path forward and I don’t think it’s complicated,” he said.

Franklyn urged the town to establish a baseline for noise levels that are acceptable in order to have “clear ground rules” going forward.

“That is the key to solving this,” he said. “Council needs to decide on what an appropriate level is.”

Ryan Gibbons, the town's director of community services, said the town is looking at the establishment of a baseline, which would require an update to the noise bylaw. Gibbons thanked the vineyard and the neighbours for their work on the file.

“It’s a good example of how neighbours can work together and find solutions,” he said.

Council approved the request for the noise bylaw extension in a 6-0 vote. Coun. Gail Ardiel declared a conflict on the matter.

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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