Town council probes concerns over ‘Jake brakes’

PORT HAWKESBURY: Complaints about the loud noise generated by the brakes of large trucks have led town officials to seek out their options for turning down the volume, particularly in the overnight hours.

During a recent special meeting of Port Hawkesbury Town Council, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Terry Doyle provided an update on recent concerns raised about the use of Jacobs-brand compression-release engine brakes, more commonly known as “Jake brakes,” on vehicles making their way through the town in recent weeks.

According to Doyle, a recent conversation with the area manager for the South Inverness-Richmond office of the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Darren Blundon, revealed that signage used in some parts of North America to curtail Jake brake usage is no longer under DTIR jurisdiction in Nova Scotia.

“[Blundon] says they were directed to remove signs of this nature years ago,” Doyle reported. “He says it’s now an RCMP issue, so we should take it up with them.”

Describing the high-volume Jake brake noise as “the source of all the misery that the residents have had in town over the years,” particularly at the intersection of Reeves Street and Highway 4A, Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton suggested that the town’s noise by-law could address these issues.

“I would say that if we do have a Jake brake by-law at some point, it’s probably under our noise by-law,” Chisholm-Beaton suggested. “Anything after 10 p.m., it’s going to fall under it.”

In the meantime, town council has agreed to send the issue back to the Port Hawkesbury’s municipal policing committee, while town staff will research the by-laws of other municipalities to determine whether Jake brakes are included within such municipal legislation.

“It might be worthwhile just to see what’s out there,” councillor Trevor Boudreau concluded.