While Queen’s Athletics should make attempts to curtail late-night commotion at the West Campus sports field, surrounding residents should get used to a reasonable amount of noise.
Queen’s is looking to get an exemption from a City of Kingston by-law that forbids yelling, shouting and “hooting” from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays for the field. This request comes in the wake of many complaints by residents who live nearby. These residents claim that the “yelling and shouting” coming from the field is a genuine nuisance that is especially aggravating to families with small children who have early bed times.
People living near sports fields should anticipate a certain amount of noise up to a reasonable hour. In this specific case, the expectation of silence after 9 p.m. is a sticking point on which the University shouldn’t budge.
While there’s undoubtedly some genuine harm done to families with small children, an enforcement of the by-law represents harm to Queen’s students — from varsity athletes to those who participate in intramurals — who are jostling for space on an increasingly crowded campus.
Long-time residents have the greatest claim to silence, as they might have been in the same location since before the sports field existed at all. However, complaints from residents have to be weighed against the ubiquitous tendency to complain about any and all developments that cause inconvenience.
Ideally, the City, the University and local residents would come together and establish a consensus about proper use of the field in question. However, while Athletics should take a thorough look at scheduling and even consider cuts to some of the latest programming, any resolution should tend towards the University’s position.
We live in a society that’s constantly weighing competing claims and desires. The sad truth is that somebody usually goes away unhappy. In this case, residents should lose out to sporting Gaels because, given the context, their desires are unrealistic.
–Journal Editorial Board
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