West Coast music venue unplugged due to noise complaints

Music, drama and community events have been cancelled at Barrytown Hall until at least August.
BARRYTOWN HALL/FACEBOOK

Music, drama and community events have been cancelled at Barrytown Hall until at least August.

A West Coast music venue has had to cancel its winter line-up following noise complaints from neighbours.

Earlier this year, the Grey District Council informed the committee of the Barrytown Hall, known for its folk and rock music gigs over the past 40 years, that acts had to stay within residential sound limits after 9pm because of "two or three complaints from people that lived over the road", chairman Roger Ewer said.

The rule was "totally impossible", he said. 

Barrytown Hall, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, has received several noise complaints from nearby residents.
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Barrytown Hall, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, has received several noise complaints from nearby residents.

"If you're having a loud discussion with two or three people out in your backyard, that can be excessive."

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The last show was in April and the committee has cancelled events until at least August, which include the Arts on Tour events, gigs and the annual regional table tennis tournament. 

"We have three [Arts on Tour] events booked in over the next two or three months and there is a pretty hefty cancellation fee that will hit us hard in the pockets as well. We can't really have them because we will probably exceed the decibel levels," committee member Leon Dalziel said.

"After the table tennis tournament, we like to have something to eat and have music playing. It's just in a fragile state at the moment because we can not break the conditions that are on us."

Dalziel was born in the area and has fond memories of the hall as a child. He said venue hire and money across the bar from gigs drove the hall's revenue and paid for maintenance that kept weekly events going, like yoga, martial arts and public meetings.

"[The hall] is a focal point of the community and the music is just one facet that happens there. It is unfortunate that this has had an affect on everything else," he said.

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"It's a big circle. We rely on those gigs to be able to keep the hall going."

Ewer said the council tried to arrange a meeting between the committee and complainants, but those complaining "did not want to discuss" the matter.

"We then decided to say that this activity has been happening here in the hall for the last 40, 45 years, and there had been no complaints in the past," he said.

"That sort of put in a position where we had to fight it legally, get lawyers, and get an existing use certificate which is something you can get because we had been there for so long. These people had come recently in the past few years, knowing full well the hall had these events.

"What we are now doing is to proceed with the resource consent, which costs a couple of thousand dollars and time of course."

The committee had no issue with the council imposing the rules and hoped more ideas from a sound expert would "future proof" the hall, he said.

Dalziel the situation was not great, but "at least it will be helpful into the future and allow us to continue with what we have been doing".

Council environment compliance manager Ben Healey told the Greymouth Star it had fielded a complaint and noise level monitoring had since indicated the hall was compliant, but the number of functions at Barrytown had increased.

 - Stuff

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