Whitehorse bylaw officers warn striking workers over noise issues

The city says if noise complaints about striking workers on a picket line on Fourth Avenue continue it will take enforcement actions.

'The primary concern is loud music being projected from a trailer,' a city spokesperson said

Many Rivers workers out front of their Whitehorse office on Fourth Avenue. The unionized employees have been on strike since Nov. 2. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

The Yukon Employees' Union has been warned by Whitehorse bylaw officers about noise from the picket line outside the Many Rivers Counselling and Services building on Fourth Avenue.

Unionized workers there have been on strike since Nov. 2.

Union president Steve Geick said the City of Whitehorse bylaw department considers a speaker playing music on the picket line to be a noise-making device that requires a permit.

"So we immediately went to go and get a permit, and they would not give us one. So I'm a little confused about why they're asking us to obtain a permit, but will not give us one," Geick said.

Geick said the union's legal counsel with the Public Service Alliance of Canada is looking into the matter.

A man in a toque and red shirt stands on the side of a street.
'I'm a little confused about why they're asking us to obtain a permit, but will not give us one,' said Steve Geick, president of the Yukon Employees' Union. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

City spokesperson Myles Dolphin said in an email that the city's been receiving complaints from people in the neighbourhood for at least two weeks.

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"The primary concern is loud music being projected from a trailer that is acting as an elevated platform and occasionally a dance floor," said Dolphin.

"It's interfering with their lawful use and enjoyment of their property," he said.

A four-storey building with condominiums is directly across the street from the picket line.

Residents have complained that the music has woken them up in the morning and that it has been rattling items in their homes, Dolphin said.

The picket line for striking workers at Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services in Whitehorse, right, is across Fourth Avenue from a condominium building. (CBC)

Bylaw officers, however, have not personally witnessed items rattling, he said.

Dolphin said if noise complaints continue, the city may take action to enforce the bylaw.

He said vehicles have also been parked illegally at the site.

Meantime, Geick said the union has not received any new information from the RCMP about two incidents on the picket line earlier this month.

Union members said former Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie had grabbed one of the strikers by the shoulders. Fentie lives in one of the condo units across the street.

The picketters also said the driver of a flatbed truck swerved at the picket line.