Despite hearing some resistance from local residents, Halifax regional council voted to grant a noise bylaw exemption for this summer’s concerts on the Halifax Common.

A handful of residents attended a public meeting at city hall last night, offering varying explanations as to why council should not grant the exemption to Power Promotional Concepts.

The promotional company owned by Harold MacKay will host a pair of two-day concert series on the Common this summer — Halifax Rocks 2010, headlined by Kid Rock and the Black Eyed Peas, and Country Rockfest, featuring Alan Jackson and Kevin Costner.

Some residents who live adjacent to the Common raised concerns about potential health issues and near-constant noise during the weeks leading up to the concerts.

Lukas Pearse, a sound engineer who lives on June Street, said the decibels coming from past concerts on the Common are comparable to a jet engine at close range.

“I have measured the volume of all the past concerts ... (and they) average between 80 and 90 decibels,” said Pearse. “An analogy is when the bands come into the airport, asking the baggage handlers not to wear any of their ear protection.”

But Northwest Arm South End Coun. Sue Uteck said residents all over the municipality are asked to put up with noise at certain times of the year as part of the price they pay for living in a vibrant city.

“We have fly pasts, we have the 100th anniversary of the navy, we’ll have 10,000 sailors in town next week,” she said. “This is another common space that we’re using for common good.”

Connaught-Quinpool Coun. Jennifer Watts opposed the concerts on the Common in March, when she tabled a motion that would have effectively banned large-scale concerts on the North Common site. The motion was defeated in a 21-2 vote.

“Although council has decided to endorse that policy of having (the concerts), there’s still a lot of issues that are unresolved,” she said last night.

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