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Riverdale man arrested for noisy protest of HBO film shoot

Last Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 6:13 am EDT

A Riverdale man was arrested Monday after playing loud music in protest of a film shoot happening next to his house.

Nick Shcherban was charged with public mischief, criminal harassment, cause disturbance, and mischief to interfere property.

Police confirm they received multiple calls about loud music in the area of Pape and Riverdale avenues on Monday morning. After a warning that went ignored, they arrived with a warrant to arrest Shcherban. He was released Tuesday and is set to appear in court on Oct. 12.

Outside the courthouse, Shcherban told CityNews he is fed up with the constant film shoots happening at the house next door to his home on Pape. “They film 24 hours a day, they bring generators the size of a small car next to your bedroom, you can’t sleep,” he explains. “There’s just way too much disruption and the city doesn’t seem to care about it.”

Toronto’s Film, Television and Digital Media office confirmed to CityNews there have been 11 productions at 450 Pape Ave. since it was bought in 2015. The site used to be a home for single mothers owned by Salvation Army, and is now sitting vacant with plans to become a rental building.

“This is a residential zone. That’s not residential work. That’s business,” says Shcherban’s neighbour David Kane. “It’s against the zoning, but the city says ‘we give you a permit to violate the zoning,’ so the city is being hypocritical.”

But Toronto-Danforth councillor Paula Fletcher disagrees. “Obviously, it’s not a permanent film site,” she says. “It’s not a studio. It’s a mansion used in our film-loving city to film award-winning films at the moment.”

Fletcher, who also sits as the Chair of Toronto Film, Television and Digital Media Board, points out film shoots can’t happen in residential neighbourhoods without consent from 50 per cent of the residents. “You have more rights in Toronto as a neighbour for a film shoot beside you than you do for a condo going up beside you,” she says.

There are no limits to the number of times a residential property can be used for a film production as long as the 50 per cent neighbourhood threshold is met.

Mayor John Tory also weighed in on the issue, writing in a statement to CityNews: “I have worked extremely hard to make sure the growth of Toronto’s film and television industry happens in a way that is respectful of our neighbourhoods and residents,” reads the statement. “City staff are extremely diligent about responding to complaints about film production quickly and they work hard to resolve the situation to our residents’ satisfaction.”