TRURO, N.S. – An attempt to establish a motocross track in West Earltown has prompted demands for a noise bylaw in Colchester County.
“We believe that if the county had a bylaw it would discourage these sorts of unplanned intrusions into neighbourhoods from the very beginning and we wouldn’t have to be going through this,” said Wayne Edwards, a resident of one of nine households in the area opposed to the proposed development.
“It’s taken a terrible toll on our family and our neighbours in terms of stress and worry about what is going to happen,” he said. “We see that the county has an obligation here to act and protect its citizens.”
The motocross track is being proposed by Kelly Spencer, who owns a 56-hectare (140-acre) property on Ferguson Brook Road in West Earltown.
Spencer said he hopes to establish a commercial track that would be operated as a family attraction for young and old riders alike.
The track would also serve as a practice and training facility for his 19-year-old son, whom Spencer said plans to begin racing competitively next year.
Spencer said he is in the process of applying for all the proper permits and wants to run everything completely above board.
He experimented with the prospect by holding five unofficial, non-admission events on his property between Sept. 24 and Oct. 29, which convinced him there is enough interest from other families to warrant proceeding with his plans.
“We’re pushing for the family aspect of it,” he said. “What we’re looking to do (is) on a very limited basis.”
The noise generated by the activity, however, has convinced Edgar and the other neighbours opposed to the prospect that it should be banned.
“In terms of the direct impact on us, the noise is extremely loud,” Edgar said. “This track is being built in a residential neighbourhood where about nine households are within one kilometre of the track.”
Edgar said he and others who are opposed believe if the motocross track is permitted to operate, it will not be done on a limited basis but is something they will have to endure each weekend all summer long. And living in a valley where the sound reverberates off the surrounding hillsides only adds to the aggravation.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s eight or 52 weeks of the year. It still impacts us and we need a bylaw to protect the well-being of the residents in the community,” Edgar said.
“The loss of enjoyment on our property and the peace and quiet on our property is certainly one of our concerns. The other concern we have is an impact on property values.”
Edgar was one of 29 residents who appeared before Colchester County council committee Monday evening to present their concerns along with a request for the municipality to enact a noise/nuisance bylaw.
Mayor Christine Blair said a motion was passed to recommend to council that the matter be investigated by staff, who are to report back with options.
One of the concerns with such a bylaw regards how it can be properly enforced, she said, and which is why a previous noise bylaw was rescinded by the municipality in 1999.
Spencer, who grew up in the area, said he understands and appreciates the concerns of his neighbours but he also feels he has a right to responsible use of his own property.
“There is a true cultural difference between people who have moved here from away and people who have always lived here,” he said.
“I’m hoping there is a noise bylaw put into place so I can work within the noise bylaw and show that I am actually an outstanding member of this community.”