Sarcoa, the name brings to mind visuals of a nice lunch on a waterfront patio with smoothing music mixed with the sounds of the waterfront.
This is the Sarcoa most of us know from our own experiences, but it is not what the residents of the North End and Burlington’s harbour neighbourhoods experience late at night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
On those nights, Sarcoa changes to a night club with large crowds and loud bass-heavy music.
Neighbours in the North End have filed numerous complaints about the noise and disruption in their community.
On the other side of the harbour, residents in Aldershot state the geography and water of the harbour enhances the noise and bass from Sarcoa resulting in sleepless evenings as they houses vibrate at times.
The issue is back in the spotlight following a column by Andrew Dreschel about the ongoing matter and concerns of Burlington City Councillor Rick Craven.
Sarcoa is not zoned to operate as a nightclub and is leasing the space from the Hamilton Waterfront Trust. The Waterfront Trust, a creation of City Council, tried to claim that it was exempt from the City’s noise bylaw on the grounds that the land Sarcoa is on is owned by the Federal Government.
In 2014, facing action by the City’s Bylaw department, the Waterfront Trust applied for a change in zoning at the Committee of Adjustment.
The hearing was on August 21, 2014 and was very well attended. I attended the hearing and recorded the proceeding in their entirety.

(Werner Plessl, executive director of the Trust, and Bob Charters, chair of the Trust, attended the meeting to support Sarcoa. They moved to sit behind cameras and out of view of the public gallery. See them at 3:22 of the video.)
The application was filed by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, which tried to distance itself from Sarcoa after the hearing. Eventually, the Waterfront Trust withdrew its application. Sarcoa representatives left the meeting declaring to Matthew Van Dongen of TheSpec they were willing to pay any fines from bylaw charges for noise violations.
The issue a major concern for the City of Burlington and was brought to joint Greater Bay Area Committee as a significant concern by Burlington’s Mayor Rick Goldring and Councillor Rick Craven. Hamilton promised “Zero Tolerance” against Sarcoa this summer.
Here’s the video from April 21, 2015: