Organizers of some of Sidney’s favourite events in Beacon Park have until the fall to convince residents of the Pier building and hotel that infrequent noise is a good thing.
Sidney council on Monday tabled plans to revise the park use policy to limit the use of amplified music during weekdays. Councillors put off any decision until the fall, potentially making it an election issue. The Town’s audit and finance committee, made up of councillors, recommended that the park use policy be amended to ban amplified music on weekdays (Monday to Friday), other than on statutory holidays or without prior council approval. The change would also have had limited musical performances to an 8:30 p.m. end time during the week, again unless varied by prior council approval.
Town staff stated they had received complaints by a small number of people at the Pier Hotel building, regarding loud music. They also pointed out those owners purchased their units knowing the park was there and what it is used for.
The proposed changes to the policy did not sit well with members of the Peninsula Celebrations Society, operators of such events as the Sail Past and Sidney Days events in the park. Susan Simosko, chair of the Sidney Event Advisory Group, said the change would work contrary to the goals of the Group and others striving for a more vibrant downtown.
“I want each event judged on its own merits,” she said, encouraging council maintain the existing policy and measure events used on their overall benefit to the town and impact on residents at the Pier.
Sheilah Fea, president of the Peninsula Celebrations Society, said the change would also affect their events on the waterfront.
“If we concede to these demands,” she stated, “what’s next? It keeps adding on. How much do we cater to such a negative response?
“We have to say no.”
Mayor Larry Cross said council has to try to achieve a balance between local events and the wishes of residents, hence the suggested park use policy changes.
Councillor Kenny Podmore said there was never any question of hindering local events — many of which occur on weekends. He added the change would have given council grace to allow different events at its discretion.
Council voted unanimously to table the matter until the fall.