A parks official has confirmed his department recommended to expel a Ryerson concert from Toronto Island, citing noise complaints.
Waterfront Parks manager James Dann said the annual Parade and Picnic — partially held on the island in the form of a concert — is not welcome back.
“Ryerson is a bit of a problem child,” Dann told The Ryersonian on Friday. “There’s no final decision at this point, but (the parade) requires substantial changes prior to Ryerson’s coming back to the island.”
It is yet unclear when the recommendation was made.
Toronto Island’s city councilor Pam McConnell’s office said on Wednesday, “The councilor supports the parks managers’ decision to not permit this event in the future.” Contacted today, the office said it had no further comment.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy hadn’t heard anything about the ban.
“We never heard anything about it formally, until you asked the question and we saw it in the newspaper,” said Levy.
Ryerson Students’ Union President Rajean Hoilett said Wednesday that he was only told about one complaint that was passed to his office during a meeting with the University. The RSU has yet to give further comment.
Dann said the department made the recommendation with input from on-site staff and island residents.
Dann said he knew of 11 noise complaints from residents, but there were no security incidents, no damage to the area or problems with the ferries.
Police said there were no reported incidents.
Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam — who heads Ward 27, where Ryerson is located — said it’s not every day that the city of Toronto denies a parks permit.
“I’m happy to work with Coun. McConnell, Ryerson and the residents of Toronto Island and the Parks management to resolve this issue,” she said.
“We would need to get a clear assessment of why the permit is being denied at the very minimum.”
Opponents of McConnell in the Oct. 27 municipal election have questioned her support for the ban, with candidate Daniel Patel calling the councillor “out of touch.”
He said in a statement “safety and security measures” should be taken if “individuals deliberately create disturbances on the island,” but there should not be a blanket ban.
“(To) ban an annual parade due to noise complaints seems short-sighted and reflects taking the needs of a few over the needs of many,” he said. “I will find a better way (if elected).”
The Parade and Picnic, which happened Sept. 5, took place at Hanlan’s Point Beach, a place that borders the nearby airport and is in a relatively uninhabited area. The event ended at 6 p.m.
An island resident for 55 years, Colin Brodie, said: “Whatever was going on down there, I couldn’t hear anything. We get party boats that make more noise than that.”
Timing could be a factor for the concert, said Jim Turel, head captain at the Queen City Yacht Club on the island. The Electric Islands concert was held on Sept. 1, until 10:30 p.m., just four days before Ryerson’s Parade and Picnic.
“(Residents) would have probably complained about Electric Island, but then, having another event not too long after probably put them over the edge,” he said.
The RSU has held the event on the island many times in the past 54 years, but took a two-year hiatus when the Mattamy Athletic Centre opened in 2012.
With files from Kathleen McGouran, Sam Colbert and Gina Wincetowich