Neighbours of the proposed Morinville cultural centre are worried the new facility will be like living next door to a noisy party and want the town to do something to turn down the volume.
One resident is now appealing the facility's development permit, which could delay construction and put several million dollars in grants at risk.
Resident Tim Stirling presented town councillors with a 48-person petition at last week's council meeting, asking the town to build a large noise attenuation wall before the facility goes up.
Most of the residents live on 99A Avenue and their yards back onto 100th Avenue. The centre is planned for the grounds of the Morinville Community High School across the street.
Stirling said the town was so caught up in the zeal to build the centre that they didn't think about its impact.
"There was zero consideration for the collateral damage that this was going to do to residents, both to their property values and their ability to enjoy their homes."
With the town planning to rent out the facility as a wedding and party spot, Stirling said loud music is going to roll into his home every night.
"With the venues they want to put in there at night, there is no concern for the residents that are going to be in earshot."
Morinville Mayor Lloyd Bertschi said he was surprised to see Stirling at council so late in the process after several open houses and newspaper articles about the facility.
"I don't know what else we could have done to alert people about what was being done and where it was being done."
Bertschi said he thinks the high environmental standards of the facility and the building's position on the land should eliminate noise problems.
"Let's wait to see what happens with this thing and if it does become a massive disturbance then the council of the day will take a look at it."
Stirling said he feels the only thing the town considered was how to get the project done on time.
"The only planning went into getting the grant money, to build this facility on this site by February 2011 and to hell with the people who live next door."
Grant at risk
The town is using a $6 million stimulus grant to build the centre, but because it was part of the economic stimulus package, the town must have the facility substantially complete by February, 2011 or risk losing the grant.
During the council meeting last Tuesday, Stirling announced his plans to appeal the development permit the town issued for the cultural centre.
Bertschi emphasized Stirling had the right to do it, but also told him that an appeal could lead to a delay in the project and put the grant in jeopardy.
"We are down to about 10 months on a facility of that magnitude and it could cause some serious repercussions for the schedule."
Stirling said that statement made him feel threatened. He said the town can fix this problem with a noise wall.
"If they really represented their constituents that wall would be designed and ready to be built before we even had to listen to the construction noise."
The town is ready to sign a fixed-price contract with PCL Construction for the facility at a total cost of $10,361,000
Bertschi said the contract doesn't stipulate a timeline, but with such a big company he is confident PCL will get the job done on time.
"They can bring the resources in from all over the place to accelerate the contract if need be."