Kids at play draw noise complaints

MARY BAINES
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013

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The noise of children playing, birds tweeting and ships in the harbour irritated Wellingtonians enough to make 5767 noise complaints to the city council in 12 months.

Te Aro was the suburb with the most complaints - 1088 for the 12 months between July 2011 and June 2012.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said this was because Te Aro included the Courtenay Place entertainment district and hundreds of people living only metres apart from each other.

The figures were obtained under the Official Information Act.

Noise control officers can seize equipment, such as stereos, and issue fines of up to $10,000.

Mr MacLean said most of the complaints came from neighbours annoyed with loud music, partying, neighbours turning their television set up loud, road sweepers, delivery trucks and buskers.

"You name it, we get complaints about it - music, home theatre systems, burglar alarms, people laughing, talking and singing, dogs barking, roosters, children playing, helicopters, DIY equipment, lawnmowers, birds tweeting and ships on the harbour," Mr MacLean said.

Complaints in Te Aro were almost double that of Newtown (553), the suburb with the second-most complaints. Mt Cook and Mt Victoria, with 435 and 354 complaints respectively, followed closely.

The CBD, which encompasses Lambton Quay and The Terrace, had just 273 noise complaints.

Residents in Horokiwi, Waddington (Naenae), Evans Bay and Takapu Valley were the least affected by noise.

Each of those suburbs had just one complaint in the 12-month period.

Christmas revellers made December the month with the most noise-related callouts, totalling 600. In November, there were just 403.

Te Aro quietened down in November (62 complaints), December (70 complaints) and January (70 complaints) when most other suburbs were getting more complaints than any other time of year.

"January is obviously a time when there are fewer people around in the CBD," Mr MacLean said.

"It's the loudest time in the suburbs because it's summer and people do lots of loud things outdoors or leave their windows open when it's warm."

Students preparing for exams or leaving the city could also be a reason the largely student-populated suburb quieted down.

Noise complaints in Te Aro picked up again in February (106 complaints) and March (128 complaints) - presumably when students came back to the city.

The quietest month was May, with 364 complaints for all suburbs.

Mr MacLean said this was because it was starting to get cold and people generally stayed indoors with their windows closed.

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In the loudest month, December, over half of all noise complaints had "no action" taken against them by noise control.

That usually meant the noise had stopped by the time the officers had got to the scene, or the noise was not deemed to be unreasonable, he said.

- The Dominion Post

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