Street preacher defiant after ruling on loudspeakers
Street Church Ministries had its licence to use amplified sound stripped after the city received more than 100 noise complaints over the loudspeakers.
The outreach effort, aimed at helping the homeless, holds three services a week, on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays, at Triangle Park, just east of the Calgary Drop-In Centre.
Preacher Art Pawlowski challenged the decision in court last December, and asked if he could use the loudspeakers while the lawsuit made its way through the justice system.
But in a ruling released Thursday, Queen’s Bench Justice Bonnie Rawlins said the city can ban the amplified sound in the interim.
"This case is embarrassing for the city," said Pawlowski, who claims his constitutional rights are being violated. "They are shutting the ministry that took hundreds of homeless from the streets."
He insists the 220-watt speakers are necessary, helping his message reach the homeless, prostitutes and drug dealers in the downtown core, while allowing a safe distance if violence breaks out.
City of Calgary lawyer David Lewis said the church likely will be allowed to use the amplified sound during this weekend’s Easter services. But after that, bylaw officers can hand out tickets if the loudspeakers are used in the park.
"I’m very pleased, and I’m sure the people living in the area are pleased," the lawyer said. But Pawlowski said he’ll continue using the loudspeakers because his ministry is crippled without them.
"I’m going to fight and I’m going to die fighting for the freedoms this constitution is giving us. If me going to jail is going to make a statement, so be it."