Dustin Hamilton is not allowed to play his car stereo in Central Saanich.
In fact, Hamilton is prohibited from driving his PT Cruiser at all in Central Saanich unless he’s taking his girlfriend to work and back.
Since May, Central Saanich police have received about 17 noise complaints from residents of West Saanich Road between Keating Cross Road and Wallace Drive.
“People are saying their pictures are rattling on the wall and coffee cups are falling off the table,” Cpl. Dan Cottingham said.
“They feel the vibrations through the floor of the house. The noise is scaring the livestock. Little kids wake up crying in the middle of the night because the stereo scares them. It’s certainly had an impact on the West Saanich corridor.
“It’s my understanding the entire back seat of his car is totally rigged up with stereo equipment. It’s quite something.”
Hamilton was given two warnings by police in May and June to turn the stereo down. Eventually, he was given a bylaw ticket and placed on a police undertaking not to play his car stereo.
He appeared before the court on Aug. 21 to vary the undertaking so he could take a special route in Central Saanich and still play his stereo.
“So what’s this all about?” asked provincial court Judge Ron Lamperson.
“It’s what I do for a living. It’s what I do for love,” said the 24-year-old car-audio installer. “I’ve put hundreds of hours and my girlfriend’s put all her money into the car. It’s what we love. To say don’t play your stereo in Central Saanich … is depressing.”
Prosecutor Jeff Johnston told the court that neighbours are so furious, the police are concerned not just for the neighbourhood but for Hamilton’s well-being.
“There was a corporal and a constable who said the music was so loud, the bass was pounding in their chests and causing windows to rattle,” Johnston said.
“The police say it’s actually louder than standing beside a transit-bus engine.”
“Mr. Hamilton, what are you doing?” asked the judge.
“Why do you insist on playing your stereo so loud?”
“I didn’t know it was doing this. … Nobody told me it was doing this,” Hamilton said.
Lamperson dismissed the application to vary the undertaking preventing Hamilton from playing the stereo.
“If you want to fight this, you can have a trial and you’ll be able to present your case. But it’s alleged you bothered a lot of people and you may be going deaf in the process.”
Cottingham said the stereo dispute has resulted in confrontations. People in the neighbourhood were following Hamilton.
“Something more was going to start happening, so we had to step in, for sure,” the officer said.
One man posted notices in coffee shops and banks asking people to call police if they were “noise impacted.” One driver boxed Hamilton’s car in at the RBC parking lot in Brentwood Bay.
Hamilton now faces a criminal charge of mischief. His next court appearance is Oct. 25.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Katrina Jourdenais, left her job in Brentwood Bay and now works at Tillicum Centre so the couple can drive into town together, music pounding.
“I grew up in this town. I’m born and raised here,” Jourdenais said. “We’ve always had bass.”
Hamilton said he has worked in Brentwood Bay for 10 years and always played his stereo loudly.
“I think the whole thing is ridiculous,” said Hamilton, who is on disability after being diagnosed with a type of arthritis in his spine about 18 months ago.
Around his neck he wore the gold medal he won on Aug. 13 at the dB Drag Racing auto sound competition in Colwood. Hamilton won in the extreme sound pressure level category, although he admitted he was the only competitor.
“It sounds like a symphony in there,” Jourdenais said. “It’s the No. 1 sound car in Victoria.”
“It’s clean sound and I love it,” Hamilton said.
“It’s not just bass. It’s crystal-clear vocals. I’m an audiophile. It’s what I’ve done for years.”
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