The decibel level has been capped and so has the frequency, but the issue won't be fully dealt with until at least September.
The issue of the church bells at Our Lady of the Assumption Church was again brought to the forefront at Monday's PoCo council meeting, with Prairie Avenue resident Wendy McHaffie and others questioning council and staff on a number of points related to the bells.
Some of the concerns centred around the consistency of the bells ringing - with some suggesting the bells chime every hour on the hour - while others wondered why the city is not issuing bylaw infraction notices to the church in light of so many complaints.
Those complaints not only have to do with the bells, but also with parking and air quality issues.
"We have had nothing but problems with parishioners parking illegally in the lane behind the 2200 block of Prairie [Avenue]. This has gone on for years and yet the city did nothing," McHaffie said.
The ringing of church bells is exempted under the city's noise bylaw. In other instances when the noise bylaw is contravened - excessive noise between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., for example - guilty parties are subject to a $2,000 fine.
The city has stated it will not begin ticketing the church, which is located at 3141 Shaughnessy St., until a review of the matter goes to council in the fall. In the meantime, the city has told church officials the bells cannot exceed 70 decibels.
According to Dan Scoones, the city's manager of bylaw services, the bells can now only ring at specific times: Saturday evenings prior to mass at 5: 30 p.m.; Sundays between 9 and 9: 30 a.m and 11 and 11: 30 a.m.; Sunday evening mass, which is currently scheduled for 7: 30 p.m.; and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on days when special events like weddings and funerals are held. The bells are also tentatively allowed to ring daily at noon and 6 p.m.
Many on council argued the city wants the church and surrounding neighbours to come up with a suitable resolution, so the "heavy hand of government" isn't forced to intervene.
"We want to find a community solution," said Mayor Greg Moore.
"The issue is how to arrive at a reasonable compromise," added Coun. Brad West. "The challenge is that certain people have different expectations of what that looks like. There will be some people who won't be happy until there's maybe no ringing of the bells."
Coun. Mike Forrest said neighbours have put up with "quite an intrusion" since the church was rebuilt a few years ago, and did not rule out revisiting the city's bylaws if a reasonable compromise can't be found by the fall.
"We come together in the fall and we speak about what we can do going forward, knowing very much that it is possible that we will go through a bylaw process for change if we don't come up with, or hear about and have a plan for, some changes in favour of community for the neighbourhood," he said.
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