Lennoxville resident losing sleep over BU/Borough pilot project

Photo: Gordon Lambie
By: 
Gordon Lambie
Staff Writer

Jacques Chenard of William-Paige Street in Lennoxville was critical of his borough at Tuesday night’s City council meeting for the special arrangement it made with Bishop’s University regarding keeping the orientation week concert on campus later into the night this past week.

“The problem is that Lennoxville is on an incline facing the campus, and the school has its concert playing against brick walls,” Chenard said, explaining that the reverberation of the sound off the walls of the school echoes loud and clear on what would otherwise be a fairly quiet street. The resident shared that that he gets up at five am to drive a school bus, a task that requires attention and awareness, and argued that being kept up all hours of the night by noise turns that bus into a “rolling bomb.”

“The party at Bishop’s needs to be reviewed,” Chenard said. “The number of decibels needs to be limited and the party needs to be moved.”

The Lennoxville resident suggested a wide array of possible solutions, ranging from moving events at Bishop’s to the side of campus near the experimental farm to adopting a bylaw allowing the police to declare groupings of people larger than four illegal gatherings and forcing parties to disperse. He was critical of the ”special authorization” given to the school this year to keep the party going later on campus and said he called the police regarding the issue several times.

While acknowledging the legitimacy of Chenard’s concerns, Lennoxville Borough President David Price disagreed with the resident’s assessment of the situation and his proposed solutions.

“In general it’s been a good year,” Price said. “We tried something different and I think it worked out well.”

Though the Borough President said that Chenard was not the only one to complain about the noise brought about by this year’s pilot project, he said that overall the change meant fewer disruptions in town after the annual concert had finished. Holding the event in the University’s Quad, he explained, keeps students contained and does, in fact, contain a lot of the spill-over sound.

“They used to do it in the parking lot over by the football field, and that we could hear all over town, it was worse,” Price said. “It didn’t go out into the farm as (Chenard) thinks.”

Both Price and Council President Serge Paquin brought up the matter of Sherbrooke’s general noise bylaws in responding to Chenards concerns and emphasized the importance of having people with complaints call the police in order that problems can be measured and recorded.

“You can stop the music but you can’t stop the party, there’s nothing illegal about having a party,” Price said. “The question of sound is something we will have to revisit.”

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