VICTORIA -- A downtown Nanaimo restaurant has been threatened with $50,000 in municipal fines for playing live music on their patio.

Owners of the restaurant, Pirate Chips, say they fear they’ll go out of business if changes are not made to the city’s noise bylaw.

The fish and chips shop, which has been a staple in Nanaimo’s downtown core for over 17 years, started playing live music on their patio every Friday night between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

They started doing this after opening back due to COVID-19, as a way of attracting customers to their restaurant.

The owner of Pirate Chips, Angela Nodwell, says that business has been slow this year as many of her usual customers are tourists or are part of the bar scene, two groups that no longer exist due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She’s believes she’s lost 75 per cent of her usual clientele since opening back up.

“I keep thinking, ‘Today is the day we break even,’ but it hasn’t happened yet,” said Nodwell.

The restaurant owner fears that she’ll go bankrupt if she doesn’t come up with creative ideas, like live music, to attract new customers.

“I’m not the only one. I’m trying to survive, I’m trying to add positivity to the downtown core,” said Nodwell.

After being issued two tickets for breaking the city’s noise bylaw, Nodwell recently received a letter from the city of Nanaimo’s lawyer telling her to stop or else she could face additional fines of up to $50,000.

“There’s been numerous complaints to the city about the noise emanating from those band performances,” said Troy DeSouza, legal counsel for the City of Nanaimo.

“The city wanted to give quick action and results to the community,”

Pirate Chips says it will not be playing live music tonight, and the restaurant hopes to come to an agreement with the city, or even see changes to the bylaw.