City-approved buskers are coming to Chilliwack.
A pilot program for street entertainers was approved for 2011 by council on Tuesday after a presentation by Carolyn Marleau, manager of leisure development.
Three busking locations have been selected: under the clock tower at Five Corners, Salish Park and Central Community Park.
“The benefits include an increase in foot traffic,” to areas where artists will be performing, she said after the meeting.
It follows the planning principle that attracting a positive activity to the downtown, like family-friendly entertainment, will tend to “drive out” the more negative behaviours found in under-utilized or low traffic areas.
Performers will have to be pre-approved by a panel and pay about $40 for the privilege of entertaining the masses for almost three-hour sessions at a time from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Marleau distinguished between buskers and panhandlers during her presentation, stating that it will be acceptable for buskers to accept donations, but they must not actively solicit the money that gets tossed into the hat or instrument case.
The other difference is that buskers must undergo an application process, with an audition under five minutes, before being approved.
Staff research has shown that similar street busking programs have been introduced in B.C. everywhere from Granville Island, New West, Nanaimo, Kelowna and Victoria, as well as in BC Transit locations like Sky Trains stations.