Opinion: Complainers living next to Vancouver House construction need to quiet down

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Image: Jill Slattery / Vancity Buzz

There is likely not a person in the world who relishes the sound of loud construction noises. Drills, jack hammers, saws and pounding are all just part of the process of building up a city – and there is virtually no way around them. Regardless, downtown residents constantly feel the need to complain about noise pollution.

And we’ve had enough of it.

This morning, Global News reported the complaints of curmudgeon residents who live across the street from the under-construction Vancouver House building at 1400 Howe Street. “It’s pretty bad…the constant drilling, it’s almost like being at a dentist except you’re in your own home,” one resident told the media outlet.

Let’s back up for a minute. You are not at the dentist, but you do live in downtown Vancouver during one of the biggest construction booms in recent history. Skyscrapers are popping up everywhere while older buildings are being demolished, the same process that likely took place when these residents’ own building was erected somewhat recently.

Those who choose to live in downtown Vancouver, a small landmass in comparison to the rest of the City of Vancouver where housing is more plentiful and less expensive, have no business complaining about the very thing they signed up for.

We get it, construction noise is irritating, headache-inducing and highly inconvenient, especially on warmer days when you’d rather have windows and doors open. But it doesn’t run all night or begin at the crack of dawn. And it should be accepted as a given when you choose to live downtown.

Even I, living in serene North Vancouver, have experienced cantankerous construction. This very moment, crews are digging up the street just a feet away from my bedroom window. A monster home went up next door last year and helicopters heading to the North Shore mountains fly overhead multiple times a day. There is also this pesky woodpecker who drills into our house’s metal roof vent in the wee hours.

Sure, I may send out a frustrated tweet once in a while, but since I choose to live in, you know, civilization, I don’t take it further than that.

One of the residents in the building across the street from the Vancouver House actually took it upon himself to measure the noise decibels from his deck. Our suggestion? If the noise bothers you so much that you take the time out of your day to analyze measurements, read bylaws and mail the Mayor, maybe you should consider leaving your apartment once in a while. There is a seawall literally two blocks away and it is there to be used.

There’s also a movie theatre about five minutes away and some pretty great flicks playing right now. Though we don’t recommend San Andreas because we hear there are some pretty loud noises there too.

We also happened upon some innovative headphones recently that actually cancel noises. There is a fairly good chance you could find a pair somewhere in Vancouver. These people seem like the type that could benefit from some self-help audio books. Does anyone know if Chapters has any left in their closing sale?

Or maybe consider getting a job or volunteering instead of sitting at home in a vile mood as you scour out your window at the positive economic growth of our beloved city.

And if none of those things work for you, perhaps consider moving. We hear there are some private islands for sale nearby where you could truly enjoy that peace and tranquility you seem to be longing for. Hell, we hear real estate is kind of cheap in Maple Ridge, if they’ll have you.

Resident Wayne Drury told Global News, “[I’ve heard] absolutely nothing from the mayor, nothing from the politicians, nothing from the city. That’s the frustrating part. We’re just supposed to sit here and take it.” Yes. You are supposed to “sit here and take it.” What did you expect when you moved to one of the densest areas of downtown Vancouver? Singing birds and the soft hum of lawn mowers? The rare annoyance of an Ice Cream Truck jingle?

While we’re at it, here are a couple of other things you downtown residents are not allowed to complain about:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Honking
  • Sirens
  • Homeless people
  • Large public events
  • Stadium or concert noises
  • Neon or digital signs / light pollution
  • Lack of parking
  • Bad smells
  • Protests

There are many amazing perks to living in the city core, too many to list. Like everything in the world, it is usually a trade-off between pros and cons. If you have reached a mature state in life and you still haven’t figured that out, you should take a long look at all the things you could be grateful for.

And look into those noise cancelling headphones.

Image: NBC / Tumblr

Image: NBC / Tumblr

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
@jillslattery

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