Plateau residents clash with bar owners over noise
Published Monday, October 28, 2013 11:50AM EDT
The commercial strips in any neighbourhood can be noisy and raucous, especially when live musicians are playing in bars and clubs.
But now many residents of the Plateau say newcomers are trying to shut down the very events that make their neighbourhood vibrant.
Said Mammouche, owner of Les Bobards, hosts live musicians every night at his St. Laurent St. bar, making sure the performances end promptly at midnight so as not to aggravate his neighbours.
However on Oct. 15 one of them complained, and a police visit ten minutes before the end of a musical performance resulted in a fine for $1,250.
"It's only recently that we have started to have problems with our neighbours," said Mammouche.
Musician Vincent Stephen-Ong was playing the club that night and said the noise complaint was ridiculous.
"That Tuesday night was no louder than any other Tuesday night," he said.
The arrival of police upset him so much he went home and delivered a rant to his web camera about what people who live near bars should expect.
"My beef is that people move to the Plateau becasuse it's the hip and trendy part of town, now they don't want any of the things that made the Plateau hip and trendy in the first place," Stephen-Ong said.
His video inspired many Plateau residents to write to borough mayor Luc Ferrandez in the bar's defence -- but the borough said it has no control over how police respond to noise complaints.
"We have one of the liveliest nightlife and live music scenes of any community in the entire country here on the Plateau and we want to keep it that way," said councillor Alex Norris.
He said the borough will, if Projet Montreal is re-elected, continue to work on balancing the concerns of residents with bars.
"We've produced a guide to help bar owners and venue owners soundproof their premises," Norris said.
Mammouche said he plans to add more soundproofing to his bar, but said he's getting no support from municipal officials.
Sound technician Gregoire Carrier said that's not enough, and that noise bylaws should have concrete, measurable rules.
"It's up to the police officer's judgement so if they think it's too loud, it's just by their judgement so you can get fined quite easily I think," said Carrier.