Canada Line exhaust fans assault Cambie Street home

Vancouver Courier

Leslie DeSchutter says Canada Line fans are disrupting her family’s life. Photograph by : Dan Toulgoet

Leslie DeSchutter says Canada Line fans are disrupting her family’s life. Photograph by : Dan Toulgoet

Noise disrupts sleep, conversation

Janaya Fuller-Evans, Special to Vancouver Courier

While thousands of riders have flocked to the new Canada Line since it opened more than two weeks ago, one Cambie Street family isn’t pleased to be living next to the line’s Langara-49th Avenue Station.

Thomas DeSchutter says the station’s exhaust fans are blowing his family’s livability away.

“They aimed the exhaust fans directly at our house instead of towards Cambie,” said DeSchutter, adding the fans have run constantly throughout the summer. “During the heat of the summer they ran almost all day long, and periodically at night.”

DeSchutter, an investment adviser and president of the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce, said the noise is worst during evening rush hour.

According to the couple, the noise particularly affects one of the bedrooms on the side of their house. They say the bedroom is unusable without earplugs.

The noise is even worse outside, limiting the use of their backyard, he said.

“My 93-year-old grandmother lives with us,” DeSchutter said. “I can’t even have a conversation with her 10 feet away in the backyard.”

DeSchutter’s wife Leslie said their two young children couldn’t use a paddle pool outside because the noise is too loud to be comfortable.

“We’ve had a beautiful summer and we couldn’t use the backyard at all,” she added.

On one occasion when the DeSchutters were entertaining in the yard, DeSchutter said, they had to nearly yell to make themselves heard. There was a palatable sense of relief when the fans turned off, he said.

“The street noise seemed like nothing in comparison with those fans.”

The family has been working with Canada Line representatives throughout the station’s construction, because of their home’s close proximity. Workers have occasionally needed access to the property.

DeSchutter reported the problem to InTransit BC, the company that built and is contracted to maintain the line for the next 10 years, at the end of June. InTransit sent out an acoustical engineer who measured the sound from the yard. DeSchutter said the engineer told him the noise was “beyond code.”

DeSchutter has sent many emails to InTransit but says they’ve stopped getting back to him. “I have been patient but my last two emails haven’t had a response. Now they’re not talking to me about it.”

Steve Crombie, spokesperson for InTransit, told the Courier the problem is being addressed.

“We had to go and design a shield to muffle the sound,” he said.

According to Crombie, the shield has taken time to design and test to ensure that the station’s roof can handle the extra weight, and that the shield can withstand wind and works effectively. “We’re getting ready to install it,” Crombie said. “Probably in the next few weeks.”

Crombie added that he would make sure DeSchutter is regularly informed of what is happening.

He said the fans are necessary for ventilation, particularly for emergencies, and had to be placed in that specific location to work effectively. Crombie said there has been one other Canada Line noise complaint from a resident in Yaletown. The resident reported hearing the station announcements and bell from one of the high-rises next to the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Crombie said, noting the volume has since been adjusted.

“These are things that happen with a new system. There hasn’t been anything that we can’t deal with.”

Leslie DeSchutter was frustrated the Courier got a response from InTransit. “It’s nice that they told the media but didn’t answer the emails and phone calls from us,” she said.

janayafe@gmail.com

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