Birdman chirpy over flap result

21:38, Feb 17 2009
KEEP IT DOWN BOYS: Murray Powell can go on housing rare and exotic parrots at his Bagust Rd aviary but has to meet the cost of monitoring their noise.

The Birdman of Rotokauri has won the right to continue housing rare and exotic parrots at his Bagust Rd aviary.

Independent commissioners have granted veteran bird fancier Murray Powell resource consent to breed, rear and keep noisy macaws, moluccans, major mitchells, red tailed blacks and sulphur crested cockatoos.

But at the same time the commissioners, Allan Watson and Phil Mitchell, have laid down 17 stringent conditions, including a limit of 15 pairs of "noisy" birds on his property, presentation of a noise management plan, reviews every 12 months, and the need for Mr Powell to meet all costs of ongoing monitoring.

Mr Powell, the founder of Hamilton Zoo, has spent $60,000 fighting for the right to continue his life's work in a rural environment.

Closest neighbours Helen and Tony Watson have complained about bird squawks from his property for seven years, and at the hearing they asked that consent be denied.

The commissioners noted bird noise would still be audible at the Watsons' property, but concluded it would be at an acceptable level and reasonable within a rural environment.


"I'm pretty happy," Mr Powell said. "The conditions are just about liveable, which was all I was asking for. It's been 15 months of hell, and the council have moved the goalposts all over the place, but I think I can live with the decibel requirement.

"I am thankful to the thousands of people all over New Zealand who have supported me."

Mrs Watson said she had "no reaction" to the decision.

"It is a legal decision and he is now bound by the law," she said. "It is up to him to comply."

She would not be drawn on whether she was happy with the commissioners' ruling. "I had my say at the hearing. That is all that is important to me."

At the hearing Mrs Watson said neighbourhood problems arose once "troublesome species" were introduced to Mr Powell's property in 2000.

She had since suffered seven years of emotional stress and been "subjected to public harassment, ridicule and embarrassment" as a result of her complaints.


Waikato Times