Georgian Hills Vineyards on Grey County 2. Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Blue Mountains council has given Georgian Hills Vineyards an exemption to the town’s noise bylaw to allow the business to host a number of after-hours events on weekends this summer.

At its committee of the whole meeting on May 15, council approved a noise bylaw exemption to allow the vineyard to host 18 different events including weddings, charity events and other gatherings. The exemption approved by the committee, which has to be ratified at council’s next regular meeting on May 29, requires that all amplified music at the approved events be shut down by 11 p.m. Between 11 p.m. and midnight, noise is allowed for clean up and for vehicles to depart the location.

The vineyard had requested that music be allowed until midnight, with the volume being reduced at 11 p.m. and noise for clean up and traffic departing being allowed between midnight and 1 a.m.

Georgian Hills Vineyard also requested a noise bylaw exemption for four other events, but council will consider those requests at a later date.

The request for the exemption to the bylaw generated concerns from neighbouring property owners.

Peter Franklyn was a delegation at the meeting and expressed concerns about the vineyard receiving a “blanket” exemption to the noise bylaw for most summer weekends. Franklyn said he did not oppose the exemption in its entirety, but suggested reduced hours, more efforts to mitigate noise and an effective complaints-and-response process.

“I think they need to do whatever it takes to prevent disruption to the neighbours,” said Franklyn.

Georgian Hills Vineyard representatives Amanda Jerome and Robert Ketchin spoke to council on behalf of the company.

Jerome said the vineyard has been hosting events since 2016 and takes its responsibility to limit the noise very seriously. She outlined a number of steps the company had taken to reduce noise and ideas they are considering for the future.

“We will make every effort to be sure our events don’t inconvenience our neighbours,” she said.

Ketchin apologized for any disturbance the neighbours may have felt in the past and said the vineyard would do what it takes to mitigate any noise issues.

“We will take every effort to reduce amplified sounds as much as possible,” he said. “We sincerely want to resolve the sound issues as soon as possible.”

Members of council expressed appreciation that both the vineyard and the neighbours were willing to work together to alleviate the issue.

“There is a willingness to work and negotiate,” said Mayor Andrea Matrosovs.

Council approved the modified request for an exemption in a 5-0 vote. Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon was absent and Coun. Gail Ardiel had declared a conflict on the issue.

By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 16, 2023 at 09:00

This item reprinted with permission from   Collingwood, Ontario
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