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Busker wants to play by rules

Lobbying for clear regulations after street performer gets several tickets

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files</p><p>Eric Pyle, a.k.a. Eric The Great, has been ticketed for obstructing pedestrians and littering.</p>

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files

Eric Pyle, a.k.a. Eric The Great, has been ticketed for obstructing pedestrians and littering.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/5/2016 (586 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Transcona man wants the city to adopt clear rules for street buskers.

Currently the city has no bylaws regarding busking.

Lee Raito said he first approached a group of city councillors after learning a fellow busker, Eric Pyle, had been ticketed by police last year for performing downtown.

Raito said Pyle, a local musician, received several tickets in April 2015 while performing near the MTS Centre. He was ticketed twice for obstructing pedestrians and littering.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/5/2016 (586 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Transcona man wants the city to adopt clear rules for street buskers.

Currently the city has no bylaws regarding busking.

Lee Raito said he first approached a group of city councillors after learning a fellow busker, Eric Pyle, had been ticketed by police last year for performing downtown.

Raito said Pyle, a local musician, received several tickets in April 2015 while performing near the MTS Centre. He was ticketed twice for obstructing pedestrians and littering.

The protection, community services and parks committee was asked by some members of council to have the administration consider a bylaw or regulations that would permit busking in public spaces.

The protection committee will consider the request from the three councillors to have the administration look into the situation and bring back a report.

Raito will be there to make the case for either a bylaw or regulations.

He said Kenora and Edmonton regulate buskers and he believes Winnipeg could follow their example.

He said he doesn’t believe ticketing buskers is a common occurrence, but said city hall should make it clear what’s acceptable and what’s not.

"It should be easy to put in a set of rules that are friendly to artists, not just musicians, but any artist who wants to busk in a public place, and make it friendly," Raito said.

Kenora has a formal busking bylaw, while Edmonton has regulations.

Busking is encouraged by the business improvement zones in the downtown and the Exchange but the spokesman for both organizations expressed surprise Raito believes buskers are encountering problems with police.

Brian Timmerman, executive director of the Exchange BIZ, and who spent 25 year with the Winnipeg Police Service, said buskers are a vital component to a vibrant, downtown streetscape.

"We don’t have a lot of them in the Exchange but they are a plus to the neighbourhood," Timmerman said. "There’s nothing better when you’re going for a walk in the Exchange or downtown, it’s kind of nice to have somebody playing music or singing.

"I just think that’s part of the vibe of being a vibrant downtown."

Stefano Grande, executive director of the Downtown BIZ, said business operators might be concerned if buskers were interfering with customers or playing too loud but added his group hires buskers to perform along Portage Avenue during the summer. Grande said buskers are encouraged to perform in front of Portage Place.

"We encourage busking," Grande said. "If they come to us, we’ll find them a location."

Raito said since panhandling isn’t illegal in Winnipeg, he doesn’t believe conditions should be placed on where they can perform in public.

"I don’t want people to have to apply to get a busker’s ID tag, don’t want people to be told where they can busk — let’s just put an easy set of rules in place and let buskers do what they do best."

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more by Aldo Santin .

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Updated on Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 8:14 PM CDT: Adds links

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