Saint John Won't Add Heat Pumps To Noise Bylaw

Posted on Sunday, March 4, 2018 06:58 AM

Heat pump owners in Saint John can rest easy — the city won't be changing its noise bylaw to include the devices.

Common Council asked staff last May to prepare a bylaw amendment, even though the city only ever received one complaint.

But when staff presented the amendment at this week's meeting, council decided not to move ahead with it.

Councillor John MacKenzie says adding heat pumps to their noise bylaw just doesn't make sense to him.

"I know the newer ones, there's not the problems that they used to have in terms of noise," says MacKenzie, "and we are trying to promote it and I don't really want to put a roadblock up to promoting it."

Councillor Ray Strowbridge asked city staff if they think we need to add heat pumps to the noise bylaw.

"In my experience with bylaws and bylaw amendments, typically you wouldn't modify a bylaw to address one complaint," says the city's Amy Poffenroth. "Typically, it would be a persistent problem that staff and council have found that your bylaws are ineffective."

Councillor David Merrithew also turned down his support for the idea, saying heat pumps he's seen installed lately are extremely quiet.

"I apologize to you Amy and your crew for making you do the extra work," says Merrithew.

Poffenroth says most municipalities they contacted receive few complaints about heat pump noise, and when they do, it's usually because of a maintenance issue with the pump.

If noise is still an issue, says Poffenroth, some of those residents have put up a sound barrier around the pump, which usually solves the problem.