The generator is in a metal shipping container plopped on the apartment building's back lot, just 20 metres from the front porch of Tim Bood's house.
"Everybody on the street is up in arms and upset," says Bood."Most of the day it's running at noise level where you have to shout at each if you're standing on the street. And every now and then it belches out this big black smoke, big clouds of it."
Reporters often get noise complaints, but the noise from this generator is in a class by itself: it can be heard two blocks away, over the traffic noise on Cunard Street, and it is painful to stand near the generator. It's unquestionable that the noise from the generator violates the city's noise bylaw, which prohibits "The operation of any item of construction equipment in a residential area without effective muffling devices in good working order and in constant operation" at all times of the day.
Bood is a doctor; he says he has contacted councillor Dawn Sloane about the noise, and the provincial Department of Environment about the soot and particulate matter in the smoke, but the generator has been in place for 10 days and still no action has been taken by any authorities.
Sloane says she has filed the necessary complaints with bylaw enforcement. "But they say, 'well, it's maintenance.'" She's hoping media attention will force the bylaw enforcement division to take action.
His conversation with the Department of Environment was frustrating, says Bood. "They tell me it's difficult to prove this stuff is bad for you."
A woman answering the phone at the MacDonald Apartments office refused to talk about the construction, and referred an inquiry to Realstar Management, a Toronto-based property management firm. A woman answering the phone at Realstar could find no one to talk to a reporter. "They're all out in the field," she said, directing a call to the voice mail of someone named Rose Miller. "If you don't hear from her in a day or so, call back. I could give you someone else's number, but he'll just say, 'Did you talk to Rose?'" Rose Miller has not responded to a message left on the voicemail.
Bood says he's talked to the construction workers, and it's his understanding that the basement parking lot in the building is being lowered. Apartment dwellers have been given replacement parking in the parking garage behind Scotia Square, about a kilometre and a half away. The generator is used to run a compressor that is used to blast away the concrete.
The construction workers said the construction would last six months, says Bood.
"The other thing is the arrogance of these people," says Bood. "They haven't talked to anyone on this street; they haven't talked to anyone in the apartment building."