Eatery's noise notice only one

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2013
Jonny Schwass
DEAN KOZANIC/ Fairfax NZ
KEEPING ON: Jonny Schwass says the restaurant is within its rights to play music of an afternoon.

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The city council noise notice issued to top Christchurch restaurant Harlequin Public House is the only one handed down from 23 complaints made in the Victoria St area this year.

The notice was issued at 4.20pm during the Sunday Players set. The band played on until 6pm at lower volume without further complaint.

Christchurch City Council inspections and enforcement manager Anne Columbus said an "excessive noise direction" was issued after a complaint made about the sound from a live jazz band.

Columbus said there had been 23 noise complaints for the Victoria St area this year to date, nine of which related to music from a commercial premises including Sunday's complaint. Of the 23 complaints, Sunday's was the only one in which an excessive noise direction was issued.

Under the notice, if excessive noise recurred during the following 72-hour period further action could be taken, including seizing equipment.

Chef Jonny Schwass said the restaurant was operating within the grounds of its resource consent, which allows about 120 people on the premises.

Schwass said council staff did not lower the volume much, and the band continued playing.

Cr Jamie Gough posted on his Facebook page that he had been at Harlequin on Sunday "having a quiet beer". He called the afternoon "low key" and expressed surprise that a noise complaint had been issued.

Victoria Neighbourhood Association co-ordinator Marjorie Manthei said several of its members had contacted her on Sunday commenting on the volume of the music.

"They were just walking by and they said it was just deafening," she said.

Manthei said she was "not very impressed" with Schwass' comments to The Press after the noise control complaint, but she hoped the restaurant owner would be more considerate in the future.

"You don't want to hang someone out to dry until it's a pattern," Manthei said.

"I would like to think it's an abberration."

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