Hamilton's main drag the loudest

DANIEL ADAMS
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012
Noisiest street in Hamilton
Fairfax NZ

Victoria St tops this year's list of streets attracting the most complaints to council about excessive noise.

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Hamilton's main drag is the new home of noise complaints.

Victoria St - once dubbed the city's golden mile - easily tops this year's list of streets attracting the most complaints to council about excessive noise.

Figures released to the Waikato Times under the Official Information Act show a single Victoria St address drew close to one-third of a mammoth 172 complaints on our most prominent road.

Victoria St runs from the largely residential area between Te Rapa Rd and Mill St to the commercial precinct and the south-end entertainment zone.

Hamilton City Council would not confirm if the property that attracted 53 complaints on the street was commercial or residential.

While in previous years the data has showcased suburban feuds as the catalyst for noise complaint champions, this year the focus has shifted to the inner city, where bars and pubs sit alongside inner-city apartments.

Almost 8000 noise complaints were received by council in the year to October 31, including 192 about live bands and 34 licensed premises.

The Lawrenson Group chief executive John Lawrenson said Bar 101 had attracted about 50 complaints for a foam party 18 months ago, but Hamilton had a compact bar precinct and he believed there was plenty of inner-city space for apartment developments away from the area's noise.

"My expectation would be that most of those would be from this end of the town but you've got to have some common sense. It's a permitted activity in this zone, it's a mixed-use area and I think it's really up to landlords to soundproof their buildings," Mr Lawrenson said.

"I used to live above The Outback and I slept just fine, double-glaze your windows and you hear nothing."

Hamilton City Council spokesman Jeff Neems said noise complaints are dealt with in the context of the environment in which they are made.

"So, for example, because the CBD is identified as an entertainment area under the District Plan slightly noisier activity is accepted there," he said. "By contrast, noisier activity in a quieter suburban area is not tolerated to the same extent.

"In terms of dealing with noise complaints in the CBD, relating to commercial premises, they are usually dealt with through dialogue with the owner/manager of the business."

Central city resident Vanessa Natusch lives on Victoria St and said homeless people were more of a problem than pub and bar noise.

"I don't think it's too bad, it can be a bit of pain on a Thursday-Saturday night, however, when all the homeless people gather in the park. . . that is loud and intimidating. What should be a nice park to walk through is turned into a place to get high and cause mischief."

Soundscape co-owner Greg Stack, whose event drew a string of excessive noise complaints in March, thought the growth of outdoor sound systems and performances may be contributing to the number of complaints.

"We don't want to be seen as the bad guys. We want to take responsibility for our noise and we work closely with the council to do that," he said.

"I can certainly empathise with people but as a regular punter I find that a lot of the noise comes from people. You think the noise is over because the clubs are closing and suddenly there's 3000 people out on the streets."

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