Burnaby busker only knows one ‘irritating’ tune, say Metrotown residents

Chris Campbell

The reaction to my column posted Saturday about the “screaming Christian” who rants at Burnaby’s Metrotown SkyTrain station brought a deluge of reaction from people who know about him.

You can read the column about area residents’ complaints here, but many of the emails I received in reaction also pointed out there is an issue involving buskers around the station making too much noise for too many hours of the day.

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I personally love buskers and think they bring life to urban areas, but a few Metrotown residents made an interesting point about one busker in particular and the “extremely irritating” noise he allegedly makes. It’s this noise that neighbours say grinds on them when it’s heard for five to eight hours a day.

Milo Danilovic lives in the neighbourhood near the station and says there are actually several “street preachers” who loudly shout their views.

“I live in the neighbourhood and can tell you we have this problem with buskers and preachers for several years and it’s getting worse,” Danilovic said. “Neither the City of Burnaby, TransLink or RCMP would do anything. We are being literally abused and disturbed here in this area.”

Danilovic actually spoke before Burnaby council in January of this year about the issue, asking them to take action about both buskers and street preachers.

Danilovic is especially concerned about the sounds emanating from one particular busker. Danilovic sent the photo of the busker pictured above, who plays an erhu, also known as a Chinese violin.

“He would spend more that 8 hours per day ‘playing.’ It was horrible,” said Danilovic, calling it “extremely irritating noise.”

Danilovic isn’t the only one who singled out this busker. I received six emails from six different people complaining that this musician.

“He only knows how to play one single tune and that tune is about 30 seconds long,” said Kurt. “On some working days, he is at the Metrotown station from 3 to 8 p.m., so over a five-hour period one is able to ‘enjoy’ that ‘tune' about 600 times in a row, as he never stops.

“He (sometimes) uses an amplifier … and you can hear his music anywhere from the corner of Imperial Street and Central Blvd to beyond the intersection at Willingdon Avenue and Central Blvd. Sometimes you can even hear him at Patterson Station - that's how loud it is.”

Kurt called it “torture.”

As I said, I usually love buskers, but I don’t have to listen to one for long periods of time. Many of those who emailed say that these noises, along with more recent issues with SkyTrain cars getting louder according to the many letters to the editor the NOW has received recently, combine for an unpleasant experience.

This is a tricky issue because when you live near the busiest SkyTrain station in the city and Burnaby's largest mall, how quiet can you expect the area to be?

Does it just come with the territory or are there steps that government should be taking to deal with it?

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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