By Mitch Kedrosky, Spencer Douglas and Kiera Kowalski
Despite a lower population than other city wards, the Somerset ward has decisively more noise complaints about loud music directed to the city’s 311 bylaw hotline.
Somerset yielded 69 music complaints in 2016, more than double those of neighbouring Kitchissippi, with 27 complaints, and almost six times more than River ward, which had 12.
“You’re going to see a younger population living in the more affordable rental housing found in the Somerset ward,” said Jeff Leiper, councillor of Kitchissippi.
“Kitchissippi ward is marked by a lot more expensive housing and an older demographic, and I think that’s the main reason why it is a little quieter,” he said.
There were 35,110 people were living in the Somerset ward at the time of the 2011 census. Almost one-third – 13,390 – were under age 35. (The latest census figures breaking down the age of residents in Centretown wards is not yet available).
By comparison Kitchissippi had an approximate population of 37,920, and 9,395 people were under 35 in 2011.
In Kitchissippi, noise complaints don’t seem to be a problem, says Leiper. “We’ve had a few isolated incidents with particular establishments, but in general, noise complaints are something that really don’t occupy a lot of my office’s time,” he said.
Lepier said that in rare instances he’s received letters asking him to nullify noise related charges. Once the fines are issued, there is nothing a councillor can do, and the issue of noise is left up to landlords and the city bylaw, Leiper said.
Blair Chesnick, a Carleton University student living in the Somerset ward, is no stranger to noise.
“It’s for sure a noisy neighbourhood,” said Chesnick. “I party often. And sometimes the music is on non-stop.”
Noise complaints about music in Ottawa, by ward: