Case Study: Port Noise Monitoring and Nuisance Management Plans

About This Project

With 29 major terminals and a network of transportation corridors, the Port of Vancouver, managed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA), is Canada’s largest port. It neighbours 16 municipalities and the territories of several First Nations, so it’s close to many residential areas.


In 2010, understanding the potential for Port operations noise to affect nearby communities, VFPA asked us to develop a noise management and monitoring plan. Their goal was to better understand Port noise, limit noise from routine operations, and avoid or mitigate other noise as much as possible.


Scope of Services

The project schedule was extremely condensed; the entire scope of work needed to be completed in under two months. To meet this schedule, we assigned three senior consultants to the project.


Working closely with the Port and other stakeholders, our acoustical team developed a comprehensive strategy that included an integrated noise monitoring and management plan that relied on a noise mapping strategy that has been successfully applied at ports in the EU.


We performed extensive in-person, telephone, and email interviews with VFPA tenants and CN Rail to better understand their considerations and constraints in managing noise. We met with representatives from VFPA’s Environmental Programs and Communications teams to ensure the plan addressed everyone’s concerns.


Project Benefits

We produced two deliverables: a noise monitoring plan and a noise and nuisance management plan.


The noise monitoring plan provided the Port with detailed guidance on how to perform noise monitoring and analysis, including management best practices for

  • responding to noise complaints,
  • assessing noise mitigation, and
  • preparing periodic reports.


The plan also contained information about permanent Noise Monitoring Terminals (NMTs), resident-operated monitors, and conducting attended and unattended measurements using a portable noise monitor.


The noise and nuisance management plan outlined proactive methods for managing noise and other nuisances to promote quality of life in nearby communities while optimizing growth at the Port. The plan recommended a proven approach that uses noise mapping, noise action planning, and noise management.


Noise mapping is an effective strategy because it facilitates an exchange of information among port stakeholders and the public while providing a framework to manage port noise, predict the effects of current port noise on future developments, and provide insights into how planned port expansions could affect existing communities.


By identifying principal noise sources and providing a visual reference, noise mapping also helps improve the noise complaint investigation process for all parties.


Moreover, our noise and nuisance management plan included a complaint resolution procedure, which addressed practical methods of investigating complaints related to noise or other nuisances.


Working on a tight schedule, we provided detailed and specific guidance to help the VFPA and its tenants manage Port noise, limit potentially adverse effects on surrounding communities, and engage with the public to seek positive outcomes.




“I have worked with BKL on a number of acoustic impact assessments and site-specific noise studies over the years and have found the BKL team to be very professional and innovative in their delivery of their services and the final acoustic reports.”


—Darrell Desjardin, former Director, Environmental Programs, Port of Vancouver


Case Studies, Ports & Marine
Environmental and Community Noise, Noise & Vibration Management Plans