Blacklisted bands and noise complaints - RMFF clears last minute hurdles

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
November 11th, 2010

Just how late should parties be allowed to go at the Miners’ Hall and how hard should bands in the venue be allowed to rock? The question arose this week and briefly put a hurdle in the way of the Rossland Mountain Film Festival, which has hired BC/DC to rock out at their Saturday night gala event.

Unbeknownst to the Film Fest’s volunteer board of directors, BC/DC had been placed on a blacklist of sorts and banned from playing the historic Miners’ Hall venue based on a previous event. With the band and hall already booked and unrecoverable deposits already put down on both, the Film Festers quickly found themselves in a jam.
A number of years back, the Miners’ Hall was rented for a private 40th birthday party bash. BC/DC was the hired entertainment for the night. As noted by the Rossland Recreation department, there was substantial damage to the Hall which required repairs by the City and by the individual himself.
“When I started working with the Recreation Department, it was told to me by Trish Davison,departing Acting Manager, Recreation Department, that under no circumstances was BC/DC to be allowed in the Hall again,” wrote Robin Hethey of Rossland recreation in a memo to city CAO Victor Kumar.
Incidentally, three years later the same individual who had rented the hall for their 40th birthday party passed away. His friends and family wanted to hire BC/DC to play at his wake. At that point the recreation department indicated that BC/DC was not allowed in the Hall and dealt with a series of upset phone calls, community members, a grieving widow, and disappointed friends.
As an extension of that incident, the Miners’ Hall Task Force recommended that the Hall not be rented out to events that create a risk or where the sole purpose of the event is drinking and high risk activities.
Although the recreation department recommended to the City that the rules be upheld and BC/DC be barred from playing the show, efforts were made by both the recreation department and the Film Fest board and cooperatively between the two groups. While it appears that the two sides will be able to work out an agreeable solution including increased security and damage deposits, the discussion did come before Council this past Monday night.
In talking about whether or not BC/DC should be allowed to play, the discussion veered into the greater question of just what should the Miners’ Hall be used for as well as the city’s noise bylaws, what they are, how they are enforced and what should be done if events are in violation of the city’s noise bylaw.

Of particular concern during the discussion was a complaint received by the City from a nearby resident complaining about last Saturday night’s Halloween party. That party continued with music booming well past 3:00 AM. While clearly stating that they were all for parties at the Miners’ Hall, the neighbours requested that the city enforce its own noise bylaws and make sure parties end by 1:30 AM at the latest.
There was no official punishment for the Halloween party organizers other than an additional bill of $102.66 to cover an mp3 player that went missing as well as additional janitorial services.
The question was also raised as to exactly what the rules are and what time Miners’ Hall events should shut down.
Councillor Jill Spearn chimed in on the discussion, adding “If we go by the City’s noise bylaw of 1:00 AM, well, you’re not going to have these dances shut down at 11:00 PM, nor should they be. The complaint about events going until 3:00 AM is a legitimate complaint. 1:00 AM seems to be the regular shut down time, and I’d say 1:00 AM is a reasonable time to shut down.”
When asked about the current noise bylaws, CAO Victor Kumar noted that it is unclear and, in jest, suggested that “in order to enforce it that means we have to be there at that time.”
Moving forward, council will look at the bylaw and consider amending it in order to add clarity for future events. In the meantime, however, the dispute over whether or not BC/DC should remained banned from the facility came to a resolution and, indeed, the Saturday night gala will go in.
The overall message from the City to the Film Fest board and BC/DC could neatly be summed up in the words of the bands inspiration: “For those about to rock, we salute you!”
Just how late should Miners’ Hall events be allowed to run? Should there be penalties and stronger enforcement for organizers who go over that time?

Other News Stories