On noise and garbage pollution

Dear Editor,

I got five hours of sleep last night. The Mayo Clinic says that I need between seven and nine hours to function at my best.

I had been aiming for the elusive weeknight eight when I crawled into bed at 9:30 p.m. But, as happens most nights, the noise from the bar in front of my house thwarted my good intentions.

As I lie awake praying — yes, don’t judge me — praying for all manner of retribution to be rained down upon that bar, its operator, staff and patrons, I had an epiphany. Perhaps, not all of the persons who commit crimes are hardened criminals; perhaps some are just law-abiding citizens who’ve decided to take the law into their own hands because the agencies charged with protecting their rights fail to do so!

At least two agencies continue to fail me in the matter of that bar. The building was a residential duplex when I bought my property and built my house. But within a year of moving in, it was converted into a commercial plaza; within another year, the bar, measuring about 12 x 12, moved in. The police in the first instance gave the licensing authority the green light to allow a bar to set up shop in a residential community — and apparently without any conditions.

The licensing authority allowed them to operate a bar until two in the morning. Neither agency appears to have considered the impact on the neighboring, law-abiding, mortgage-paying and tax-paying citizens.

Neither required the landlord or the operator to install sound absorbers and sound insulators so that the unwanted sounds of cussing patrons and pulsating music do not escape and become a nuisance and an annoyance. And now, despite my complaints, both seem powerless to resolve the problem.

But noise is not the only offending pollution.

The Department of Environmental Health is failing to protect from the mosquitos, dogs, cat-sized rodents and indigents that forage for food and lodging among the discarded appliances and overflowing garbage bins.

Residents of our tiny cul-de-sac must encounter this unsightly mess upon entering and exiting their homes every week — worse from Friday to Tuesday.

The bins are not sufficient, and the frequency of trash collection is not adequate.

Environmental Health said last year that the landlord had promised to resolve the situation; he didn’t. And they’ve done nothing about it. Most recently, I complained to the minister and permanent secretary, but didn’t even get an acknowledgement.

As for the noise complaint, the police do their best.

Understandably, noise must rank pretty low in the triaging of crimes.

Last night, I lay in bed praying for relief for 41 minutes before making my first call to them at 10:11 p.m.

They came at about 11:20 and the music was turned down to a muted rumble. I called at 11:21 to say thank you, but within two minutes — at 11:23 — I had to call back to say there was noise again.

They obviously returned because the music was finally turned down at minutes after midnight.

Of course, it took another half hour or so for my blood pressure to drop and my agitation to subside sufficiently for me to drift off to sleep.

As I slept, I dreamt of a world where everyone has the peaceful enjoyment of their property and every agency vigorously protects the rights of all citizens; what a wonderful world it was!

But it was short-lived; morning came too soon. So, if you should see me today, don’t judge me harshly if I’m a bit cranky; I didn’t get up on the wrong side of the bed as you might think. I simply did not get enough sleep to function at my best.

– Law-abiding citizen 

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