On July 18 City Council unanimously approved a temporary bylaw to permit live, amplified entertainment for up to three years. The bylaw will be reviewed at that time to determine whether the program was a success with minimal negative feedback or impacts to area residents. A decision will be made at that time whether to make the bylaw permanent.
A 30 day appeal period is currently in effect. If no appeals are received, the by-law takes effect Aug. 17.
Currently, the City’s Noise By-law allows “loudspeakers or other electro-mechanical transducers intended for the production, reproduction, or amplification of sound until 11 p.m” on outdoor patios. The by-laws allow music from speakers on outdoor patios, but live performance of music is prohibited.
Under the temporary patio bylaw, live, amplified performance of music is permitted under the following conditions:
- between 12 pm and 10 pm Mon-Sat, and until 6pm Sundays and holiday
- only one one band or one group or one musical act can perform on the patio at any given time
- outdoor entertainment / recreational uses remain subject to all other City by-laws in effect, including the City’s Nuisance and Noise By-law.
My Take: Council unanimously supported the temporary bylaw, on a recorded vote at my request. Council also supported my amendment to allow amplified music (staff had originally proposed only acoustic performances). After hearing from musicians and downtown restaurants, I agreed to support amplified music for three reasons: the existing bylaw already allows amplified sound via speakers on patios, just not live performance; the noise bylaw is available to deal with complaints from noise; and musicians made the case it would be difficult to be heard without amplification, given traffic and other background ambient sound downtown. I believe that for the pilot to be truly effective we must test whether amplified sound is appropriate. If not, we can amend the bylaw after the review period.
Your Take: Do you support allowing musical performances on patios downtown, including amplified sound? Leave a comment below.