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Under proposed changes buskers in Dunedin will have to maintain a 3m distance from pedestrians at all times in the central city and be 1.5m from pedestrians elsewhere, be at least 6m from intersections, seek permission from retailers before performing outside their stores and reduce performance times from a 90-minute maximum to a 60-minute maximum.
The changes are part of the Dunedin City Council’s proposed Trading in Public Places Bylaw.
Fringe Festival director Gareth McMillan said he was disappointed to have found out about the consultation on the bylaw only a week before it closed on Monday. He had major concerns about the proposed changes, which would affect future festival performers.
The proposal of a 3m distance would will rule out many of Dunedin's central busking locations, including the popular Albion Lane which was often inhabited by buskers.
"The one-and-a-half metre restriction will rule out many suburban commercial locations in Dunedin, including South Dunedin, where footpaths are narrower."
The proposed new requirement to seek permission from retailers before performing created an additional barrier.
"This will have a chilling effect on busking and street performance.
"Council has not sought feedback from holders of current busking licences, or arts organisations that work with street performers, despite holding their contact details," Mr McMillan said.
"A creative approach from council would focus on enabling busking, street performance and footpath art."
Dunedin man Jackson Caine said he had been busking for two years and donated the money he received to charity.
"Busking is a form of therapy for me, it’s very healing to play with no expectations."
He already sought permission from nearby retailers when busking and was concerned his favourite spot in Albion Lane, with "beautiful acoustics", might be jeopardised.
"I think it would be a loss for the people of Dunedin if we didn’t encourage buskers, especially in town.
"They bring a vibrancy to the city, they’re an important part of any city."
The council last year voted to review its Mobile Trading and Temporary Stall Bylaw early as a response to e-scooter safety concerns.
The proposed new bylaw covers street performers such as buskers, fundraisers, footpath artists and other commercial users of footpaths, and requires e-scooter and bike rental businesses to have permits and comply with certain conditions.
A council spokesman said 64 submissions were received. Most (57) included feedback on street performing or busking.
A bylaws subcommittee will hear submissions on the proposed bylaw on October 6.