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Kevin Allerston
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 25/05) - Imagine nodding off to sleep only to be awakened a couple hours later: that's reality for many Yellowknifers.

Some say the noise level during the city's quiet hours - from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. - is too high and Municipal Enforcement isn't doing enough to lower it.

"It is really getting out of hand," said Mike Botha.

Botha lives in Northern Heights in the heart of downtown and is fed-up with being awakened two or three nights a week by noise from the streets below.

"After two in the morning I hear these people tearing up and down the roads on their motorcycles," he said.

"When I lose two hours of sleep a day, I find it very hard to function."

While he thinks city by-law enforcement does a great job with parking meter violations, he wishes they would do the same with noise violators.

Botha is not alone. His neighbour Phila Fyten is frustrated, too.

Fyten is so sick of the noise, she has resorted to sleeping with earplugs and a sound machine to restore the restful quality of her night.

The problem isn't limited to downtown, however.

Fyten has been house-sitting on Forrest Drive and has been awakened a number of times by loud vehicles.

She has given up calling city bylaw enforcement.

"It's too much of a hassle. It's less stressful to just get earplugs and let it go," Fyten said.

Doug Gillard, manager of municipal enforcement, said it's difficult to respond to noise complaints because there is only one officer on duty from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

"Most of the complaints we receive regarding vehicles don't give a license plate number," Gillard said.

In the last 12 months, by-law has received 99 complaints and laid 14 charges.

Under city noise bylaws, a person can be fined up to $2,000 for being too noisy.

Offenders may also face a charge of causing a disturbance, a summary offence with a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine or six months in jail.

Drivers with loud mufflers may be charged under the Motor Vehicles Act for having an inadequate muffler system.

But the complaints of the sleepless are not falling on deaf ears, bylaw says.

Gillard said over the next few weeks, Yellowknifers can expect bylaw enforcement to be more active against noise-pollution at night.

"It's a matter of doing some rescheduling and getting more officers out on the street at different times," he said.