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High noise levels rile students living on UBC campus

An unprecedented level of noise in one University of B.C. hotspot has students complaining that their sleep and studies are…

By Emily Fister , in Life , on October 22, 2013 Tags: , , , ,

Marine Drive Residence at UBC faces the Building Operations yard, where noise disturbs some residents as early as 5:30 a.m.
Marine Drive Residence faces the Building Operations yard, where noise disturbs some students as early as 5:00 a.m.

An unprecedented level of noise in one University of B.C. hotspot has students complaining that their sleep and studies are being disrupted.

The area around Marine Drive Residence has never been peaceful because it’s near a university building operations yard.

But noise levels have reached new highs this year because of a construction project delay. It has added to the volume of  beeping and braking trucks, say students who’ve lived there for several years.

“I actually find that I don’t work at my desk that often because of the noise,” Amanda Ali, a fourth-year global resource systems student, said. “I’ve never had so much noise pollution.”

University officials say UBC is an urban environment and advise students on how to adjust to the noise.

Early morning din

Marine Drive, which houses about 1,600 students, is across the street from the operations yard, the core department for all university services.

The yard’s hours begin at 7:30 a.m., but garbage and recycling trucks and campus mail vehicles get an early start at 5:30 a.m.

This year, besides those trucks, the area is also getting a high number of vehicles associated with construction.

[toggle title=”Listen: Trucks beep and rumble early in the morning at UBC.”]

This recording was captured at 5:30 a.m. from the eighth floor of Building 4 of the Marine Drive Residence at UBC.
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Before the school year started, residents received an email from UBC’s student hospitality and housing services in May warning of construction racket throughout the summer.

The message explained that the adjacent Ponderosa Commons West Building residence was to be built by September 2013, with construction occurring from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday — the standard for the city of Vancouver.

However, recent setbacks at Ponderosa have pushed back the September deadline until December 2013.

Living with noise

The din on campus has forced some to adjust their daily routines.

Second-year geology student and Building 4 resident Mike Warner, changed his sleep schedule because of early morning noises from the yard.

[pullquote align=”right”]Remember that UBC is an urban neighbourhood and rarely silent[/pullquote]“I usually wake up one to two hours before I want to wake up,” he said. His fifth floor window faces the operations.

“I’ve been woken up at 5 [a.m.] before from trucks beeping.”

Noise also continues into the night, perturbing students who want a quiet place to study.

This has been the noisiest of Ali’s three years, to the point where she can’t keep her window open at night.

“It’s just loud and annoying and it really is disruptive,” she said.

Residents on higher floors are spared the worse. “I’m not really affected by the noise, but I know some people on lower floors who are,” said Marco Gonzalez, a second-year commerce student, who lives on the eleventh floor of Building 4.

Earplugs recommended

UBC housing staff have suggested solutions for residents, including using earplugs and having white noise in the background, such as a fan.

“It can be helpful to remember that UBC is an urban neighbourhood and rarely silent,” said Janice Robinson, director of residence life and administration.

“Each year we typically receive a few complaints from residents in Marine Drive who are frustrated about being woken up around 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. by the noise of vehicles or equipment being warmed up, or the safety beeps of a reversing vehicle, or workers talking.”

She said that the amount of complaints is about the same every year, with the majority coming from Building 4, which is home to 400 residents.

“There have been occasions where residents have asked for a different assignment because they prefer to be away from the work yard or street, and we do our best to assist them,” said Robinson.

Have you been affected by the delays in construction? Do beeping trucks wake you up in the early hours of the morning? Let us know in the comments below.