Crofton has become celebrated for its birthday drive-by celebrations during COVID-19, but it seems that has come to an end.
Mike Colwell of Cowichan Valley Ag Hauling posted on Facebook that his wife Joan Lynch-Colwell received a visit from a North Cowichan bylaw officer Monday.
“We were told to stop our birthday drive-bys and our 7 p.m. horn honking to show support for our first responders or face a $1,000 fine,” wrote Colwell. “We are both very disappointed but we are forced to take the big red truck off the road.”
It’s been a great haul and pick-me-up for so many Crofton residents, including Kathie Nimmo who had her 80th birthday Sunday night and a mini parade past her house to commemorate the occasion before the bylaw officer visit that has now shut things down.
“For the 90 per cent of Crofton residents who have supported us and participated I would like to thank you,” added Colwell. “The 90 per cent show the true spirit of this great town.”
Comments on Facebook lit up after Colwell’s post.
Most people condemned the shutdown, considering the short amount of time involved – usually five minutes or less.
“That is terrible,” remarked another resident. “You guys made so many kids and adults alike look forward to their special day in some pretty crappy times. Thank you for doing what you did while it was able to happen.”
“This is sad, you guys did something super wonderful, everyone that took time to do this parade is amazing,” offered Donna-Mae Wilson. “You made my daughter and so many other kids really happy during a really confusing time. Thank you for this.”
Terri Granell wondered what bylaw was being broken since noise is allowed to 8 p.m. for music and 9 p.m. for other instances.
Gina Fairbairn added the same bylaw officer visit was made to their household. The Fairbairns have been regulars in the parade salutes.
Peter Williams of All Seasons Services indicated he was happy to join in on the birthday drive-by.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring checked with staff on the bylaw infraction and said in a Facebook post that nothing has actually been “shut down.”
“North Cowichan’s ‘decision’ was simply to follow up on a Bylaw complaint, like we routinely do, with dozens of complaints every week,” he pointed out. “A determination was made that some activities were potentially in contravention of our Noise Bylaw. Folks were made aware of that bylaw. They weren’t “threatened” – although I concede that being informed that repeated violations of the bylaw, (and repeated complaints), could involve fines – I understand how that could be perceived as a threat.
”But those are simply statements of fact, statements that are routinely made in pretty much every case where our Bylaw Compliance Officers are informed of – and confirm – a potential violation. No tickets were issued. Nothing’s been ‘shut down.’ People are simply being asked, to echo Bonnie Henry’s words, to ‘be kind’ in recognition that some folks aren’t all-in on the excessive noise. How the community responds to that request is really not up to me.”
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