Noisy basketball court turning Christchurch woman into a wreck
A Christchurch woman claims the thumping of basketballs from a nearby half-court is turning her into a wreck – and she wants it gone before she's driven from her home.
Linda Callaghan has made "three or four" submissions on the Fairway Reserve court to the Coastal-Burwood Community Board, city councillor David East said.
In her most recent letter to the board, Callaghan wrote: "I don't want to have to sleep on the couch, instead of in my bedroom closer to the reserve, until park users decide to call it a night at 9, 10 or 11pm.
"I cannot stand for another summer trapped inside with the windows and doors shut, just to try and shut out the thump, thump, thump of basketballs.
"I am tired of feeling distressed all the time, to the point where any sudden sound makes me anxious, thinking the basketball court noise is starting up again."
The Shirley resident said she did not deserve to be driven out of her home of 25 years, which she moved into a decade before the court was built.
The way the court was used had changed and it had become a problem only in the last couple of years as more people used it and not all were considerate of neighbours, she said.
Callaghan obtained a letter of support from the University of Auckland's head of audiology, Dr David Welch, which was also submitted to the board.
"Basketball courts have been identified in the international health literature as a significant source of community noise," Welch wrote.
Callaghan said it was good children were out playing, but "these small parks shouldn't be near residential properties".
The court had a major impact on her wellbeing, she said.
Helen Mongillo, who also lives next to the park, said she enjoyed hearing people use the court.
"There are occasions when it's noisy and it disrupts me, but I'm happy to let that go because of the value it gives to the community."
Mongillo said over the year she had lived there, the court had "infrequently" been loud.
Nearby resident Hayden McGrath said living next to the reserve had "more pros than cons".
He did not often hear balls being used, but did hear the music the basketballers played, he said.
"In saying that, it's not like they're there eight hours a day. It's half an hour, a couple of hours at the most."
Christchurch City Council head of parks Andrew Rutledge said one set of sound level testing had been carried out and the noise was within the daytime standard.
Callaghan was unsatisfied with the reading and said she wanted to be present for the next one.
"It was inaccurate. They only did it using one ball, often three to four balls are used."
Rutledge said the council planned to undertake nighttime testing in the next couple of weeks to ensure it complied with night time standards and, if there were compliance issues, it would investigate options for reducing noise.
Council acting head of regulatory compliance Steve May said when an officer was called to a noise complaint, they would decide on the spot if the noise was acceptable for the time of day.
He said last year they were called to 70 complaints because of roosters crowing.
East said while the board had received no other official complaints about the court, some residents had expressed concerns "anecdotally".
"It's good kids are off the streets and not mugging people or using drugs, but they are irritating the general public," East said.
The council said there was "extensive public consultation" before the court was installed in 2001.
It is not the only ongoing noise dispute in the east of Christchurch. A few kilometres north, a loud flying fox in Muka Park has for over a year caused conflict in the neighbourhood.
The Coastal-Burwood Community Board will decide on the flying fox's fate at a meeting on October 2.