Overnight Construction Noise in the King-Spadina Area

I have been hearing from many residents in the King-Spadina area that they are being disturbed by persistent overnight construction noise in recent weeks. In most cases this noise is being caused by an ongoing City of Toronto project to repair sidewalks and roadways across the downtown core before winter weather arrives. The contractor was granted permission to work overnight in order to limit congestion on commuter routes.

I do not support the overnight work and did not approve it.

I have said many times that this kind of construction activity should be limited to daytime hours because it often affects thousands of people who live on the block under construction and even more that live nearby. In order to ensure that our downtown communities remain liveable, we have to be careful to manage noise and ensure that people are able to sleep through the night. It is unfair and unreasonable to burden local neighbours with overnight construction noise just because daytime work might cause slight delays to commuters. Drivers can always find a new route around a work zone, but neighbours can't find a temporary new home.

Unfortunately, I do not have the power to directly determine the hours of construction. City Council, comprised of 44 members, granted this decision-making power to City staff years ago, and they are now managing the project. This is a systemic issue with every City construction project. The normal rules under the Noise By-law (no construction activity outside the hours of 7 am to 7 pm from Monday to Friday, and 9 am to 7 pm on Saturday) do not apply.

With the decision in the hands of City staff who take a Toronto-wide perspective, facing political pressure from the elected representatives of those commuting drivers, it is vitally important that your voice and your valid complaints are heard by City staff and Mayor Tory. If they aren't hearing from downtown residents, they won't understand the serious negative impact that overnight work can have on so many thousands of homes. So please be sure to share this complaint and any future complaints about overnight noise with both mayor_tory@toronto.ca and 311@toronto.ca. I urge you to encourage your neighbours to do the same. Emailing a noise complaint to 311 in this case will create a formal record with the City, which we have seen make a difference in the past on similar projects.

It is also a problem, in my view, that no advance notice or information has been provided to those of you who have been affected. If overnight work is going to happen, residents deserve to receive advance notice so they can make appropriate plans or at least know what to expect. Due to the nature of the work contract, with multiple separate repair projects taking place on any given block, it has been difficult to get accurate information about when to expect work and when current work will be completed. But my team and I continue to work on this issue and we will share any details we get with neighbours.