The View From Here – Excessive noise is always annoying but at the lake in summer it is really obnoxious

Tom Henihan

We live in a ceaseless cacophony of noise: vehicles, heavy machinery, television, radio, so when we go to the cabin or camping by the lake, peace and quiet or at least reasonable calm is appreciated.

While some may be impervious to noise, nobody likes it, except maybe those who are making the noise. And of course, one person’s music is another person’s noise.

During the summer, when people camp by the lake, go fishing, swimming or sit and enjoy the surrounding, wanton noisy behaviour is as antisocial as vandalism.

Normally, we strike a balance showing some tolerance if a neighbour at a campground is having a celebration and in return, we expect restraint and consideration most other times. It is a question of civility and knowing how to co-exist.

High-powered boats are the chief offender on a lake as they are not just a source of noise but of excessive turbulence, interfering with others fishing, swimming or sitting on the shore.

Often, the blatant lack of consideration for others is in itself an intrusion.

A perfect example of this intrusiveness happened at Winagami Lake recently.

With numerous people fishing from the breakwater, others a little off shore fishing from their boats with other just sitting the sun, a powerboat left the dock with those on board hooting, hollering and revving the engine as they headed out.

With a minimum of interference to others they had the option to head out to the center of lake and then indulge in their childish antics.

However, they chose instead to disrupt the environment and what had been a situation enjoyed by everyone was now only theirs to enjoy.

In a moment, they had arrogantly declared that the lake was their exclusive domain and everyone else be damned.

Noisy people are always annoying but in a remote environment where there is some reasonable expectation of peace and quiet, noisy people seem particularly obnoxious.

Loud noise, momentum and buoyancy are things small children and teenagers tend to associate with fun, but adults, even young adults, usually mature and find the exhilaration of life in more profound and meaningful pursuits.

Of course, at the other end of spectrum there are people with a neurotic intolerance of any sound or reasonable imposition.

Those people also contribute to the problem of being unable to share an environment with others and create intrusions of another kind.

We can’t live in a vacuum and reasonable tolerance and reasonable accommodation are necessary when sharing an environemnt with others.

The Chairman of the Sylvan Lake “Quiet Enjoyment Initiative,” (QEI) Kent Lyle published an article in the Edmonton Journal recently.

The QEI addresses the problem of excessive noise on and around Sylvan Lake.

In the Journal article, Lyle cited a Leger survey where 94 percent of Canadians and 96 percent of Albertans say that they value a quiet atmosphere above all other considerations and amenities, including water access, beaches, even privacy.

While it is reassuring to know that 96 percent of Albertans place a high value on peace and quiet, it is alarming to discover that a mere 4 percent can have such enormous influence by being inconsiderate and obnoxious.

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