The noise rang out across Port Moody into the wee small hours of Monday morning, mystifying some, annoying others, and even getting the attention of the police.
Described as both a screech and a musical instrument, the noise was the result of low temperatures and a load of sulphur being unloaded at Pacific Coast Terminals.
Typically, conveyors that assist with unloading at the export hub are quieted by a waterline.
“In the wintertime we’re not able to use that water system because if it freezes . . . it causes more damage to everything else,” explained the company’s administration coordinator Andrea Worsley.
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During the coldest months of the year, the company desperately tries to avoid having to unload sulphur during a graveyard shift, Worsley added. However, as landslides are cleared and rail lines open back up, the company couldn’t delay unloading any further, she said.
“Because it was a clear, cold, cloudless night last night, the sound travelled all through the community,” Worsley noted.
The company offered apologies to the community and pledged to “minimize future disruptions going forward,” in a statement released on social media.
“This won’t happen very often,” Worsley said.