Lawyer says street minister willing to reduce noise
By KEVIN MARTIN, SUN MEDIA April 18, 2008
Street minister Artur Pawlowski is willing to turn down the volume on his street preaching, his lawyer said yesterday.
Ivan Bernardo said Pawlowski is agreeable to keeping his amplified religious comments to a maximum decibel level if a Calgary judge is inclined to limit his preaching.
But a lawyer for the city said that’s not acceptable, and Pawlowski’s volume should be turned off.
Colleen Sinclair said Pawlowski and his flock have been annoying residents within earshot of two city parks and there’s no indication that will change.
Sinclair wants Justice Bonnie Rawlins to slap an injunction on his Street Church Ministry until a trial on whether the city can control Pawlowski’s volume is held.
Sinclair said the city man who has been feeding and clothing the homeless while spreading the word of God should be barred from using any amplification on public property.
She also wants Pawlowski held in contempt of court for disobeying an earlier order of Rawlins’ prohibiting him from amplifying his preachings at city parks.
"We’re simply asking for compliance with the city’s bylaws," Sinclair said, noting dozens of complaints have been made by residents disturbed by Pawlowski’s noise making.
But, Bernardo said the noise level by the two parks, just outside downtown Calgary, is already high and if Pawlowski were to keep it down, no one would be bothered. He also said his client’s right to free speech had to be balanced with the interests of those who don’t want to be disturbed during the middle of the day.
"There’s two competing rights here," Bernardo said.
"We do have a fundamental right to so-call bother people," he said. "Now … the city’s trying to shut down Street Ministry completely."
Rawlins said she expects to have a ruling by the second week of May.