Location: Erin, Ontario, Canada
Owner/Operator: Angelstone Tournaments
Angelstone Farms, brings world-caliber equestrian show jumping competitions to its rural Ontario farmland location. Angelstone Tournaments attracts vendors on-site during 5 events per year and 200-400 competitors, involving between 350-700 horses and 1000-3000 spectators. In addition, Angelstone offers live music entertainment post-competition. To accommodate the growth and expansion of its popular events, Angelstone Tournaments received a zoning amendment by the Town of Erin to permit an equestrian competition facility on its lands in addition to agricultural uses. Due to perceived noise issues from events, neighboring residents filed an appeal to the zoning amendment. The dispute was then brought before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for resolution.
As a result, HGC Engineering was retained by Angelstone Tournaments in 2014 to undertake noise studies of their facility. In 2016 a study was requested by the Town as a follow-up to assess improvements in audio systems and operations implemented by Angelstone Tournaments to reduce noise based on our recommendations. In both 2014 and 2016, activities at the facility were not found to increase the overall offsite sound levels measurably, relative to the background sound alone. Our 2014 study did find the audio systems used for PA announcements and music were not optimal in minimizing “leakage” of unneeded sound offsite. Accordingly, our 2014 report recommended that the sound systems focus the sound only in those areas where it was needed. After our final study, it did appear that the event-related sounds were qualitatively fainter in 2016 than in 2014.
There are no established sound level limits applicable to the types of sounds produced by events at Angelstone Tournaments. In general, the Town bylaw prohibits clearly audible sound from electronic sound systems during nighttime hours, but does not limit those sorts of sound during daytime hours. However, when assessing transient sounds from voice and music, a general rule is that, if the sounds under assessment are equal to or less than the background sound occurring at that time, they are not considered “likely to disturb” and are therefore acceptable. In essence, those were the findings of our two reports. After having heard and weighed all of the evidence presented by one of HGC Engineering’s acoustical consultants and others at the hearing, the OMB considered the mitigation measures put in place to be sufficient and in conformity with the area’s growth plan initiatives, and therefore agreed to amend the zoning By-law, and dismiss the appeal.
Acoustical Consulting Services Included:
- Environmental Noise Study
- Proposal of Noise Mitigation Measures