Saturday, April 23, 2011

What 1 city is doing about Noisy Motorbikes and Altered Exhaust Systems, supported by the Motorcycle Industry

City moves ahead on noisy motorbike ban

BATHURST - The City of Bathurst has laid out a proposed bylaw to curb excessive noise from exhaust systems on motorcycles.

The bylaw was introduced for the first time at the Feb. 21 regular public meeting of council.

Mayor Stephen Brunet said the first reading of the bylaw will take place during the next regular public council meeting of March 21 and second and third readings would take place in April.

Coun. Graham Wiseman said the bylaw is needed to give police the ability to fine those making excessive noise with their vehicles.

"This is a discussion that's been going on for a while," he told council.

"What we've done is we have held a couple of meetings with all the committee members, discussed and looked at different avenues and what we can or possibly cannot do and what legislation is existing in the province that would be of assistance to us. So having put all that stuff together we have put together a proposed bylaw."

Wiseman said the bylaw would set a decibel noise level that no motor vehicle would be allowed to exceed within city limits. City police would use decibel reading devices to determine if a vehicle is within compliance.

"The provincial legislation states the driver of a motor vehicle that is being operating on a highway shall ensure that the motor vehicle is equipped with a muffler and exhaust pipes, or pipes that are in good working order and in constant operation so as to prevent excessive or unusual noise. And no person shall operate a motor vehicle equipped with a muffler cut out bypass or similar device. What we are proposing is to complement the provincial legislation by a level of measurement...which sets the maximum decibel level."

Decibel readings would be measured by placing a sound meter 50 centimetres away from an exhaust pipe. The passing maximum decibel level is 92 and there are some exceptions. Wiseman said a one, two, five, or six-cylinder motorcycle will pass under 96 decibels, while a three and four-cylinder motorcycle will pass under 100 decibels.

The sound tests will be done 50 cm from the exhaust pipe and background noise tests will be done prior to readings being taken.

Should a vehicle surpass the acceptable decibel level, police may issue a minimum fine of $250 to a maximum fine of $10,000.

Wiseman noted that a presentation was recently made to council from the motorcycle industry in support of this bylaw.

At a council meeting last month, Wiseman showed an instructional video by the motorcycle industry which describes how this bylaw would be introduced and enforced.

He noted that all manufactured motorcycles should be able to pass the decibel tests and the only ones which may fail would be the bikes that have been modified.

"The decibel level is set high enough so that motorcycles will be heard," he said, in reference to comments from some motorcyclists about the proposed bylaw that it's important for safety reasons that motorcycles be heard. "For example, a Harley Davidson...will pass this test as long as they have not altered their exhaust system."

Wiseman said clinics will be set up to have motorcycles or other vehicles checked by police prior to the bylaw being introduced.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Constitutional Challenge: Canadian Right to Food

The constitutional challenge is going to get scrappy and we'll need all the help we can get. Here's our new lawyer...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Painting a New Food Canvas

I have read many times how local food policy is not a one size fits all dynamic, that each community has a unique set of data to interpret. However, each report that I read on a local food system assessment contains incredible quantities of similar data, each identifying both the disquieting presence of an embedded industrial food archetype and the extraordinary opportunities that exist in the pursuit of building a sustainable, local food system.

It is therefore no secret that many of us involved in local food policy are encouraged by the ideas presented and advocated from the many jurisdictions represented on this list. We learn of an innovative initiative elsewhere and automatically consider how we can make it work in our own community. Many of us feel a camaraderie for this very reason; that we are all having comparable experiences as we seek to transform our local food environments. A local food meme is firmly entrenched in North America.

Advancing concepts related to creating a superior and deeper understanding of our local food system have a profound impact on long term food production capacity in our communities. A good example of this growing of ideas is the realization that production advocates will be well served to embrace the notion of community farms vis~a~vis community gardens.

Perhaps the most significant step a community can take is to survey and map out the reality of our respective local food systems. Ironically, a great deal of work can go into these studies, with the hope that they will reveal what we already know, a dominant industrial food paradigm. We amass data so we can reinforce our position with decision makers and then persuade and influence policy direction. We often agonize over the scope, scale and methodology of our investigations into our local food system. The important component to focus on is that we are gathering valuable information on local food conditions.

If this distils to a CFA or an FSA, or as Calgary is pursuing, a LIFA (Land Inventory & Food Assessment), then your community has, or will have committed energy, time and resources wisely. The validation is found not so much in the empirical data gathered, but rather the actionable items that allow a community to transition to sustainable production and access to food. In other words, the transitional strategy and associated tactics that your community will implement to create food resilience and security are paramount.

Paul Hughes

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vertical Realty & Why Calgary needs a living, growing, inspired, visionary, innovative, experimental, original Art Policy

Vertical Realty, Empty Spaces, Dead Energy
Why Calgary needs a living, growing, inspired, visionary, innovative, experimental, original Art Policy

Calgary has 1000's of "horizontal realtors", people who sell homes, commercial/industrial property or land everyday. Economically, we place a value on these properties and have constructed a massive trade, permitting & zoning system around the process of buying & selling horizontal realty.

Presently there is no system or process in place that allows us to identify and value vertical realty (walls, fences, poles, pillars, et al) for the purpose of cultural innovation, presentation, community beautification and artistic advancement.

Yes, we have an advertising industry that utilizes vertical realty to sell us products and services via outdoor advertising.

Vertical Realty as part of a Calgary Art & Cultural Policy that nourishes the roots of our society, requires our attention and focus in order to grow. Crafting an Art Policy that recognizes the important contribution of public art presented on vertical realty and the economic multipliers associated with employing artists, purchasing materials and beautification of our realtime, human scale environment, is the essence of advancing concepts.

While our city is about to embark on a Land Inventory & a Food Assessment (LIFA), we should also launch a Vertical Realty/Cultural Spaces Inventory & Cultural Assessment. Once completed, we can easily match artists, groups & cultural organizations with the available space.

Included in the inventory analysis would be vacant/empty buildings that could be occupied by community building tenants. This strategy of creating incentives for property owners to allow access to community building & cultural groups was used effectively in Glasgow to rebuild the downtown core in the 80's & 90's, as well as Glasgow being voted the Most Culturally Vibrant City in Europe. Property owners were given a reduction on their taxes, sometimes as much as 100%, if they allowed empty buildings to be utilized by community building groups.

The same tactic could be used to encourage property owners to offer their Vertical Realty to artists. The City of Calgary Hoarding Project presently provides for a 25% discount on hoarding related costs for construction sites. I believe this should be increased in order for the sector to grow and mature, but it is a start.

From a risk management perspective, CADA (Calgary Arts Development Authority) could take a leadership role by underwriting the risk through a group plan. By doing this, CADA would eliminate one of the most onerous barriers to public art, public expression and community building... liability coverage.

A progressive and robust art policy that creates incentives for increased cultural opportunities is urgently needed in Calgary.

Paul Hughes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

City of Calgary Pothole Team 2011

City of Calgary Pothole Team 2011

Potholes are dangerous. These guys fill potholes.


During high school my summer job was working with a municipality filling potholes, by myself. It was painful to watch City of Calgary crews with this type of equipment and manpower achieve such a level of mediocrity.

The meritocracy meets mediocrity.

Second Right to Food/Urban Chicken Constitutional Challenge filed in Ontario


Do Canadians Have A Right To Food?

A Toronto, Ontario man files second Right to Food/Urban Chicken Constitutional Challenge in Canada

Jason Froats has filed his Section 7 constitutional challenge & UN Human Rights Declaration Article 25 assertion to the federal and provincial court on the issue of keeping urban chickens and his family's Right to Food.

Jason joins Paul Hughes of Calgary as the 1st Canadians to assert their fundamental freedom of a right to food, which includes the right to decide what they eat, and how they access their food, through the judicial process of a constitutional challenge.


Jason Froats
jasonfroats [at] mac [dot]com

Paul Hughes
paul [at] paulinate [dot] com