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BEHIND THE SCENES: Thorold by-law department finally shuts down 'all-night disco'

ThoroldToday editor Bernard Lansbergen takes us behind the scenes

In each “Behind the Scenes” segment, Village Media's Scott Sexsmith sits down with one of our local journalists to talk about the story behind the story.

These interviews are designed to help you better understand how our community-based reporters gather the information that lands in your local news feed. You can find more Behind the Scenes from reporter across Ontario here

Today's spotlight is on's Bernard Lansbergen, whose story "Thorold by-law department finally shuts down 'all-night disco'" was published on Feb.16.

Below is the full story, in case you missed it.

When Thorold City Hall released by-law statistics last week, there was one number that immediately jumped out to local resident Mark Lefebvre: 61.

That’s the number of noise complaints the city received last year, and according to Lefebvre, almost a quarter of those complaints came from him.

For the past few years, Lefebvre has been living next to a student house he has dubbed the "all-night disco," and he says that the City’s by-law department has not been helpful in shutting it down. 

“If you look at the number of noise complaints — it’s very small,” Lefebvre tells ThoroldToday. “There's a couple of questions. Where is your priority as by-law? And how many charges did you lay? Through that data, you can understand if people are doing their jobs or not.”

Lefebvre has been living on St. David’s Road for 25 years, but it wasn’t until four years ago that his troubles with the house next door started.

A group of alleged drug dealers moved in, leading to loud late-night parties and house calls. Eventually, the landlord kicked out the renters and sold the house. 

Lefebvre thought his troubles were over, but the new tenants turned their garage into what Lefebvre refers to as “an all-night disco," with loud music keeping him up at all hours.

Even though Lefebvre spoke on the issue at a council meeting back in early 2023, the problem kept persisting. Until recently, when he was finally able to convince councillors of his plight by capturing the nightly unrest on video.

“There was like 100 kids running around at two in the morning,” he says. “It was to show the councillors. “I said: ‘Listen, I don't know if by-law doesn't believe me or thinks I'm rude but this is what's going on.’”

The video hit home with councillors and they once again discussed the ‘all-night disco’ during last week’s council meeting,

“This one is mostly a noise complaint,” said Councillor Henry D’Angela. “It is very consistent. It happens quite a lot. I know there’s talk here of issuing some sort of punitive damages for that. I don’t think that these properties that are problematic receive the attention they require. The property has had several complaints. It’s time to start issuing citations.”

“Where we have constant problems with properties we should actually be making sure they’re part of a route where we’re paying extra attention to them,” agreed Mayor Terry Ugulini.

Unfortunately. there are no resources for such a program.

“I don’t think we have the manpower to accommodate that right now,” said Director of Development Services, Jason Simpson. “We do have methods in place currently where problematic properties with recurring issues do result in more aggressive punitive penalties more often."

But Lefebvre doesn't understand why it has taken so long for a citation to be issued in the first place.

“I've never been informed of any charges,” he says. “They’ve never called me as a witness, so I'm going to say they never laid any. I think they're starting now because I just gave them more information.”

One of the issues with laying charges is that there are no by-law officers working at night.

So all Lefebvre can do is call the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS), but they say it’s up to the city to lay charges.

“What I got from the police was the protocol where they have a liaison officer with the by-law,” Lefebvre says. “They give them the information and they expect by-law to lay the charge. If by-law then gets the information, they can still lay a charge in the daytime for what happened in the night.  But they didn't do it. They weren't doing it.”

During last week’s council meeting, Simpson was adamant that the City will try to do better in the future.

“We are currently working on improving that relationship with our partner at the Niagara Regional Police Service to mitigate these type of issues moving forward,” he said.

As for Lefebvre, he is happy to finally be able to get some peace and quiet again.

“I'm just hoping that they start to move forward,” he says. “And I would hope that the city would communicate to people that complain, to say: ‘Thanks for the information, we’re gonna use it and we're gonna lay a charge.’”