Town Staff, BIA to decide long term future of community piano

August 24, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The long-term future of Orangeville’s community piano was left in doubt at Town Council on Monday evening with some members questioning how much of the year the instrument should be allowed to remain in its current location outside a Broadway business.

Although a hit amongst much of the local community, the piano has brought almost non-stop controversy to Town Hall since local businessman Shayne MacDonald set it up outside The Altered Native tattoo shop in early June. Owning a similar business in Collingwood, Mr. MacDonald hoped to borrow the idea of community pianos, which has taken off in a big way in the lakeside town, and implement it in Orangeville.

“Lots of people seem to like the piano, I see people out playing it all the time,” Mr. MacDonald told the Citizen earlier this summer. “Orangeville is a very artistic town, so it’s cool to be able to provide a place for some of these people to express themselves.”

Some members of council felt the piano was unsightly and that by allowing it to remain in its current location the Town would be setting a dangerous precedent moving forward. Coun. Don Kidd, a constant opponent of the piano, spoke to the issue once again on Monday.

“First and foremost, this is a sidewalk. I rarely see anyone playing (the piano), I don’t think anyone will miss it. I didn’t support it the first time it came to council and I won’t support it tonight,” he said.

It initially appeared that the issue would be stalled once more when Coun. Scott Wilson indicated he wasn’t in favour of seeing the piano remain at its current location all year round. He said he would even have trouble voting in favour of having the piano outside from June to September.

“I think that is excessive,” Coun. Wilson said. “I was out by the piano yesterday and it was wrapped up under a tarp and locked up. You couldn’t play it even if you wanted to, it does not look attractive in its current state.”

He added, “I would think a much shorter period of time out on Broadway would be more appropriate. Maybe a week before and a week after the Blues and Jazz Festival, but not four months at a time.”

That four-month period was seen as something of a compromise by the Orangeville Business Improvement Area when it appeared council was not in favour of allowing the piano to remain outside yearround.

Coun. Sylvia Bradley suggested that Town Staff, alongside the BIA, come up with a workable plan and a set of rules regarding the placement of pianos on Broadway moving forward. She put forth a motion reflecting those thoughts.

With Mayor Jeremy Williams and Coun. Nick Garisto and Gail Campbell absent from Monday’s meeting it came down to the four members present to make a decision. Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock, Coun. Bradley and Coun. Wilson voted in support of the motion. Coun. Kidd was alone in voting no.

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