Removal of sound barrier outrages some Gleneagles residents
The removal of a sound barrier that used to run along one edge of Gleneagles elementary has caused plenty of confusion.
Just 12 years old, the fence was noticeably falling apart and a potential danger to students. It was torn down last year and replaced with a chain-link fence.
But with cars racing by on the Sea-to-Sky highway and traffic from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, people living close to the elementary school are outraged that the sound barrier wasn’t rebuilt.
“What they did put in was pretty minimal but now we have nothing,” said Sherry Hancock, who lives next to the school.
“At this point, we can’t open our windows anymore. We can’t sit in our backyard, we can’t sit in our frontyard... because the noise is so abysmal.”
Although School District 45 would support the construction of a sound barrier, it won’t pay for it.
According to its guidelines, see-through fences, such as the existing chain-link fence, are the best option because they allow teachers to keep an eye on students and any strangers lurking around schools.
So who should foot the bill?
The District of West Vancouver isn’t going to.
In a 4-3 vote on Monday, council decided not to pay to build another fence, which would cost between $20,000 and $70,000.
Fearing a precedent would be set, a staff report said paying for the barrier would be a “significant change” to the level of service provided by the district and would provide a whole new class of infrastructure to its inventory.
Around 100 neighbours signed a petition about increasing noise the from Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, but a representative from the school district said no one has been approached by concerned parents from Gleneagles elementary.
But this doesn’t do much to settle the nerves of some community members, who say traffic from the ferry, particularly going through a roundabout beside the school, is ruining their neighbourhood.
“This has led to a huge increase of noise in our community,” said Hancock. “I can’t understand since soundproofing was agreed to and promised, why it doesn’t exist now.”
The barrier was originally paid for by the Ministry of Transportation, which also paid for a new ventilation system for the school so windows and doors could be kept shut to block out noise. But this time, the ministry won’t be paying either.
The District of West Vancouver may, however, come up with a solution.
Council members will be working with the Ministry of Transportation to see if any other solutions are available, such as rerouting trucks to another location.