This week, a permit to build noise-reducing walls around Lansdowne was filed by Glebe resident Colin Frost, backed by a petition with more than 5,000 signatures. Frost, the originator of the petition, was annoyed by all the noise coming from the surrounding area, specifically the Lansdowne area near which he lives.
“My neighbours and I submit thousands of noise complaints every year to the city and nothing gets done. We tried being polite, but no progress was made so the neighbourhood decided to start making some noise of our own,” says Frost. “We gathered enough signatures, I believe 5,000 qualifies as ‘enough’, and I submitted a building permit request to the city to create noise-reducing walls around Lansdowne.”
Their problem is gaining some traction with local start-ups as well. Sound Off, an Ottawa start-up that creates noise cancelling walls has offered their services to many residents in the Glebe neighbourhood.
“We actually started our business because of the noise problem in that neighbourhood,” says Artur Bukowski, founder and CEO of Sound Off. “My friends and I were living there while attending Carleton University to study engineering and we had a hard time focussing on our studies during literally any event going on at Lansdowne, or any event happening anywhere within a seven block radius of the Glebe,” explained Bukowski. “Something about the acoustics of the area amplifies noise. We decided to create Sound Off to solve this problem.”
Sound Off uses solar powered noise-cancelling walls, which feature a thin membrane to capture sound, some complicated electronics to invert it, and then another thin membrane to play the sound out of the other end. The end result is reduced noise, working in the same way as noise cancelling headphones, which is what inspired Bukowski in the first place. “Since marketing specifically in the Glebe, we’ve become millionaires.”
Colin Frost has considered partnering with Sound Off to build the walls, but only if the permit gets approved.