Costco goes quiet in Courtenay — for one morning

Costco's residential neighbours say they are still dealing with noise from the store — except for Wednesday morning when all was quiet.

Costco’s residential neighbours say they are still dealing with noise from the store — except for Wednesday morning when all was quiet.

“Early this morning, June 20, we all marvelled how quiet the store was, suddenly making only a fraction of it’s usual wee-hour noise,” Elderberry Crescent resident Doug Farndon said Wednesday in an e-mail. “At least, until we noticed microphones and recording equipment set up just outside our back fence. At 7:30 a.m. the equipment disappeared and it was business as usual.”

Farndon’s back fence is directly behind Costco’s loading zone and Farndon said he and his wife normally wake up around 5 a.m. when large trucks start rolling in with deliveries.

Otto Haller, who lives across Elderberry Crescent from Farndon, also noticed the quiet Wednesday morning. He wrote an e-mail to Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula Thursday morning.

“Yesterday, June 20, we enjoyed the quietest morning,” wrote Haller. “However, today, sad to say, we had our ‘usual diet’ of noise that began sometime around 5 a.m.

“We all, in the neighbourhood, were surprised how quiet it can be without the intrusion of the Costco noise. Then one of us (Elderberry resident) noticed that equipment had been set up to measure sound.”

Courtenay director of legislative services John Ward told the Record Wednesday Costco recently finished installing a sound attenuation wall along the loading zone.

“So they’re bringing in a sound consultant to do some readings,” Ward said Wednesday, although he did not know when the testing was planned.

Costco will not comment on the issue.

Ward added he expects to receive a copy of the sound study report when it’s complete.

“And then I would look at that study, and I may get my own study done for the City,” he said.

Courtenay fined Costco $500 for breaching the City’s noise section of the public nuisance bylaw at the end of May; the noise section of the public nuisance bylaw states noise — which disturbs the peace, quiet, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of a neighbourhood — cannot be made between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

However, Ward said Costco has not paid the fine.

“Costco’s disputing their fine, so they’re claiming they weren’t in breach of the bylaw … the City hasn’t decided what we’re going to do with that yet,” said Ward. “We’d basically have to prosecute them in court now if we decide to go that way, so we have to weigh whether that’s going to be cost effective for a $500 ticket.”

Meanwhile, Farndon’s wife, Shelly Lesperance-Farndon, has been asking Ombudsperson officer Linda Blackman to reopen the investigation into how the City handled residents’ complaints because of  a miscommunication between the City and the Ombudsperson Office before the file was closed.

“There was a misquote from the Ombudsperson. She misunderstood, I guess, what I said — whether or not more (sound) mitigation measures had been done,” said Ward, adding he said the work hadn’t been completed.

Blackman could not which could not be reached for comment in time for the Record’s deadline.

But, she did write a letter to Lesperance-Farndon a week ago saying she had contacted the City and confirmed the work was not finished when the investigation was closed and apologized for the “miscommunication.” But she also said the Ombudsperson is still satisfied with the City’s response to the complaints and Lesperance-Farndon’s file will remain closed.

Costco has installed sound screening around its rooftop condenser units, and also built a wall along the property line that borders Elderberry Crescent residences — though not for the entire length of the property line — and it recently finished installing the wall around the loading dock area.

Residents have regularly complained of noise from the store since it opened last June.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com