Up against the wall, drummer boy!

Youth culture--hippies -- Paul Townsend

According to a persistent rumour, it’s against the law to play a drum in the District of Tofino. As a hand-drum enthusiast i decided to check this out. Turns out it was easy, because all the bylaws that govern us are on the district’s website, tofino.ca. (under “Bylaws”).

As it happens, percussion is specifically mentioned, but any musical instruments that disturb someone’s “peace, quiet, rest, enjoyment, comfort and/or convenience” will bring out the bylaw officers if a complaint is lodged. They are empowered to shut you down, and if you don’t comply they  can take away your djembe (or your Stradivarius) until you pay the impound fee.

So as it turns out, there isn’t a rabid anti-drum agenda going on in Tuff City. (Reading between the lines, though, it’s pretty clear where the origins of this particular bylaw lay: hippies!)

Here’s the pertinent section, right from the horse’s mouth — Public Property Use Regulation Bylaw No. 1098, 2009 (read the whole thing here):

7.5 — Musical/Percussion Instruments and Amplified Sound

(a) No  person  shall use  any  percussion  or  musical  instrument,  radio,  speaker, amplifier, cd player, mp3 player, or anything similar in nature in such a way as to disturb  the  peace,  quiet,  rest,  enjoyment,  comfort  and/or  convenience  of  the neighborhood or persons in which such continuous noise is received.

(b) Where  any  person  is  in  contravention  of  Section  7.5  (a)  of  this  Bylaw,  such percussion  or  musical  instrument,  radio,  speaker,  amplifier,  cd  player,  mp3 player,  or  anything  similar  in  nature  may  be  removed,  detained,  or  impounded by the Bylaw Enforcement Officer.

(c) After  such  a  removal,  detention,  or  impounded  the  person  entitled  to  the possession  of  the  impounded  item  will  be  entitled  to  its  release  upon  payment to the District of an impound fee and all lawfully imposed fines and penalties.

(d) Any percussion or musical instrument, radio, speaker, amplifier, CD player, MP3 player, or  anything  similar  in  nature  not  claimed  by  its  owner  within  30  days  of its  impoundment  shall  be  advertised  and  sold  by  public  auction  to  the  highest bidder. All  proceeds  of  such  auction  shall  be  applied  against  any  and  all outstanding  fees,  penalties,  and  fines,  with  the  balance  of  the  proceeds,  if  any, held by the District for a period of one year from the date of sale for the owner. If  unclaimed  at  the  end  of  the  year,  such  sum  shall  be  paid  into  the  General Revenue Account of the District.

The section right after that one is 8.1 — Possession of Liquor in a Public Place. You may want to give it a read too.

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TEXT: greg blee is a Tofino writer, observer and cultural enthusiast.
PIC: by Paul Townsend, used under Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0 licence
This post is updated from an older post on the pacificrimarts.ca site.