© Eric Bourque
Dean Kenley outside Club 98, part of the Fundy Complex.
By Eric Bourque
A Digby businessman wants the town to take a look at its noise bylaw, saying the legislation – as it is now – is too restrictive, bad for business and upsetting to visitors.
Dean Kenley, owner of the Fundy Complex, says that Digby has some major annual events that draw many people to the area – the Wharf Rat Rally, Scallop Days, and Lobster Bash– but that the town’s bylaw prevents him from having outdoor music during these events at his town establishment beyond 11 p.m.
He says he at least would like to see the town be consistent with the Municipality of Digby, where such festival-related outdoor activity can go until 1 a.m.
“With these festivals getting bigger now, there’s people out and they’re out later and they want entertainment later,” Kenley said.
“Hey, we’ve got a bike rally that’s bringing $10 million to our economy,” he said. “Let’s not shut down things at 11 o’clock.”
He says he wrote a letter to the town a few weeks before the Wharf Rat Rally asking for a waiver from the noise bylaw but didn’t get it.
On the Friday night of the Wharf Rat Rally, he says, police came to his business at about 11 and said the music on his outdoor stage at Club 98 had to stop.
“I’ll tell you, people were not happy,” Kenley said. “So imagine us running around, trying to do damage control.”
Digby Mayor Ben Cleveland says there is a process to obtain a waiver to this by-law and the town has approved extension requests in the past.
“I don’t think we’ve ever refused an application when we’ve received it in time for council to consider it,” he said.
However the mayor says the town will be looking at their noise bylaw.
“We’re looking at comparable bylaws that are in place in other towns and municipalities around the province,” he said. “It’ll be addressed over the winter months. Also, we’ll have to make the public aware (if changes to the bylaw are to be considered).”
Mayor Cleveland says the town appreciates the importance of tourism and the need for businesses to be able to operate, but he says there are other factors to consider as well.
“It really is a balance, trying to reach a compromise with the commercial activity downtown but also with the people that live in that area,” he said.