Jon and his dad, James, are well-known accordionists in the Comox Valley. Photo via Facebook

Multiple complaints filed to Town of Comox against accordion player

Comox received multiple complaints regarding accordion music in a freedom of information request

Prior to the silencing of an accordion player earlier this spring, the Town of Comox received multiple complaints regarding accordion music in public spaces.

That’s according to a freedom of information request by The Record which documents complaints on file. The inquiry asked for documented complaints from residents between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 1, 2019, under Bylaw No. 1652 (Comox Public Nuisance and Property Maintenance Bylaw, 2010).

In May, local accordion player Jon Cunningham said he was silenced by the Town after being turned down for a busking permit.

RELATED: Comox accordion player denied busking licence

At that time, the Town’s deputy corporate administer Shelly Russworm said the busking bylaw is enforced based on the number of noise complaints a musician receives.

According to the files, the Town received an emailed complaint on June 25, 2018 about the accordion music at Marina Park.

“(The music) is destroying your peaceful wonderful marina! Nothing sounds better than children playing and dreaming of boating adventures. Please make it stop!” wrote a complainant whose name was redacted to protect their privacy.

“I enjoy all the events over the summer. Bands playing and the like, and I would suggest he can play then, or in his own backyard for his neighbours to enjoy.”

On April 26, 2019 the Town received another written complaint questioning if they’ve authorized an accordion player at the Comox Marina.

“It’s a place (for) peace, to hear children play in the water park. Enjoy the sounds of the sea lions and nature and dream of boating,” wrote the complainant.

“I don’t believe it is fair to anyone to have a questionable artist begging in a public area.”

On April 30, the Town’s bylaw officer Bill Smith wrote in an email to Russworm he has “received a number of complaints about (an accordion player) … if he wants to play the guitar that should be okay, but an accordion is unreasonable at any location.”

About a month later on May 27, Smith said he called the musician and asked him if he also plays the guitar as that would be less noisy at the marina.

“(He) states he only plays the accordion, (and I) told him we can’t issue a licence for the marina for accordion playing as we have received calls about it. He said that was discrimination against accordion players. I tried to explain in the nuisance bylaw to him and he wouldn’t allow me to talk, and told me he was going to the press and a lawyer,” wrote Smith.

According to the documentation, Cunningham has not possessed a busker’s licence since 2017. Smith wrote in an email to Russworm when he did receive a number of complaints, they were not entered into the system because Cunningham was licenced.

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said bylaw enforcement within the Town is complaint-driven for the most part. He explained within the last few years, Cunningham had been playing without a licence.

“We did receive a fair amount of complaints. We were doing our due diligence and want to ensure the community can enjoy the park just like his followers.”

To view the redacted FOI, scroll down below.



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

RCMP: 40-year-old pushed two elderly men, jumped on roof of vehicles

Parksville people: Joan Lemoine on loving life, volunteering at age 90

‘I’ve had a really good life, I have absolutely no regrets’

Parksville filmmaker nominated for provincial Leo Award

Joel Grenz tabbed in ‘Best Music Video’ category

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Qualicum Beach van blaze quickly extinguished by fire crews

Vehicle found with its engine and front passenger area fully on fire

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Most Read