More silent nights at CBD bars

Nelson Mail - - News - Skara Bohny [email protected]

Live mu­sic at Nel­son’s CBD Sprig & Fern bar could be a thing of the past, thanks to noise com­plaints.

Gen­eral man­ager Lee Fern posted to the Hardy St bar’s Face­book page early on Satur­day morn­ing, an­nounc­ing the end of a seven-year tra­di­tion.

‘‘The will of one or two peo­ple has won,’’ he wrote. ‘‘Tonight for the sec­ond time in two weeks we have been served with a 72-hour noise abate­ment no­tice, which has put an end each time to the band that is/was play­ing.

‘‘We have no choice but to ad­here to this, and as such I am sad to an­nounce that af­ter seven years I can no longer pro­vide . . . live mu­sic.’’

Fern said he could not risk a fine or the seizure of the mu­si­cians’ equip­ment if he con­tin­ued to have live per­for­mances.

‘‘We have al­ways im­posed a vol­un­tary self-im­posed curfew for the live mu­sic of mid­night at the lat­est . . . but it seems three hours twice a week is still too much for some­one.’’

Fern’s post at­tracted nearly 300 com­ments in sup­port of the live mu­sic by yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, and 697 re­ac­tions.

Noise has been an is­sue in Nel­son’s CBD be­fore. In 2006, many bars said they would have to can­cel live mu­sic af­ter a cou­ple took the Nel­son City Coun­cil to court to en­sure deci­bel read­ings were taken out­side the bar rather than the home of the per­son mak­ing the noise com­plaint. Bars found to ex­ceed 55 deci­bels af­ter 10pm would be given a di­rec­tion from the coun­cil to cut the sound back or face a $750 fine.

In 2008, five noise com­plaints in 11 days about Nel­son Arts Fes­ti­val events at Al­bion Square saw them moved to Founders Her­itage Park the fol­low­ing year.

Bars are sub­ject to coun­cil noise con­trol, and of­fi­cers can con­fis­cate equip­ment if ces­sa­tion no­tices are not obeyed.

Coun­cil­lors Matt Lawrey and Mel Court­ney said they would help Fern take the is­sue to the coun­cil this week.

Court­ney said he and Lawrey were called on by com­menters on the orig­i­nal post, ask­ing for their help sort­ing the is­sue.

‘‘We’ll get on to it and make sure that sense pre­vails. It’s ev­ery­thing the coun­cil wants – we want a vi­brant CBD, and mu­sic is a part of that.’’

‘‘A city with­out live mu­sic isn’t re­ally a city at all,’’ Lawrey said. ‘‘There must be a way that we can sort it out.’’

Fern did not want to com­ment when con­tacted.

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