Basketball-noise complaint rejected by Ontario environment ministry
Pictured on the left is Anne Langdon's bedroom window in Peterborough, Ont., which is situated next to her neighbour's basketball hoop. (Photo courtesy of Anne Langdon)
Vanessa Greco, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 2:32PM EST
An Ontario woman’s request to have the province investigate the sound of her 17-year-old neighbour’s basketball playing has been rejected by the environment ministry.
In late October, Anne Langdon asked the province’s environmental commissioner to explore whether the aspiring basketball player’s dribbling constituted “excessive noise.”
Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment tossed out the Peterborough, Ont. resident’s request this week, determining that the sound of a teen playing basketball was not grounds for a review.
“The ministry considers basketball playing a normal residential activity and associated noise is not exceptional enough for an investigation,” ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan wrote in an email to CTVNews.ca.
Langdon claimed that the sound of the teen shooting hoops had been bothering her for three years, and interfered with her job as a writer who did the bulk of her work from home.
Her neighbours, the Elliott family, maintained that their son did not use his driveway basketball net frequently. They added that they went to great lengths to ensure Langdon’s comfort.
After receiving complaints from Langdon, the Elliotts tried using a wooden panel to shield Langdon’s bedroom window from the teen’s basketball playing. The wooden panel was built on wheels, allowing it to be rolled out of the way whenever the teen isn’t playing.
But Langdon alleged that the panel blocks natural light from filtering into her home and violates a section of the Environmental Protection Act that relates to the enjoyment of property.
This, however, was countered by Ontario’s environment ministry, which also rejected Langdon’s request to investigate whether the panel contravened environmental legislation.
In an email, the ministry added that “the blockage of light is not considered a discharge of a contaminant.”
Talking with CTVNews.ca Thursday, Langdon said she was disappointed by the Ontario environment ministry’s rejection but respects the decision.
“I’m weighing my options,” she said. “I’m in discussions with my lawyer at this point. There’s several routes on the table and we’re taking our time to decide how we’re going to proceed.”
Langdon declined to elaborate on what other options she’s considering.
The dispute has involved police and attracted the attention of local and national news outlets. Neighbours circulated a petition voicing concern about Langdon’s request, collecting hundreds of signatures that disagreed with her decision to alert the environmental commissioner.
Langdon had also asked the Elliott family for $25,000 in damages for the dribbling noise. In late October, neighbour Anne Elliott told CTVNews.ca that they had no intention of paying the fee.