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Acoustics Report Released On Whangamata Hall

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

4 September 2008 - Costs rise according to number of measures taken to minimise noise

An acoustic expert's investigation into Whangamata War Memorial Hall has found that building improvements of up to $200,000 will lead to some improvements to noise levels but not totally resolve the issue of noise escaping the hall.

The report by independent experts Marshall Day Acoustics will be presented to the Whangamata Community Board at its meeting on September 11 to consider options for dealing with the problem.

Complaints over noise levels at the hall - located in a housing zone on Port Rd - have led to a temporary restriction on its hireage after 10pm to potentially noisy activities and the council's Environmental Services Department began a formal investigation leading to the independent acoustic advice.

The engineering firm was asked to establish the extent of the problem through noise testing, investigate options including technology that prevents sound levels being breached and provide planning advice in regard to resource consents and other options to help find a resolution.

Options with varying levels of cost include;

- A comprehensive, staged approach combining building improvements with amendments to the council's noise provisions, and changes to management practices to address noise issues at the hall.

- Minimal building improvements focusing on management changes such as restrictions on hiring the hall to noisy activities after 10pm, installing a noise cut off system and car parking changes.

- A third option yet to be determined by the board.

The initial estimated total cost of all building improvement options recommended by the acoustics experts is approximately $200,000 plus GST. Building improvement options are being presented to the board for both the auditorium and the old hall with an initial focus on the auditorium.

Options for restricting the use of car parking was suggested for events finishing after 10pm to minimise the noise of people leaving events. Another option - used by councils around New Zealand - is to allow a limited number of noisy events per year that would exceed the current noise conditions but be allowed through application for a temporary activity consent.

"This option may not suit all members of the community who'd want to use the hall for noisy activities year round. However it appears all potential solutions to this issue will involve compromise," says TCDC Whangamata Area Manager Sam Marshall.

More cont The hall was designed to provide a multi-use facility for the community that catered to events ranging from public meetings to music concerts.

The applicable noise rule under the council's district plan says all activities should not exceed 40 dBA between 7am and 10pm and 30 dBA at night. The noise rule was relaxed in the consent conditions imposed for the application to extend the hall in October 1999.

Sam Marshall says all options address the issue to some degree but the costs rise as more measures are made to minimise noise while still allowing community use of the hall after 10pm.

Marshall Day Acoustics recommended that even after improvements to the overall sound insulation, there should be a 'temporary activity noise rule' that allowed for a further relaxation of noise rules for a defined number of days each year so that large events could still be held.

The hall's noise management plan should also replace the current noise warning light with a noise limiting device and cut-off switch on all emergency exit doors. Since noise is also caused by people in the carpark leaving events, they suggest some of the car park space to the north of the auditorium be closed off for all potentially noisy events after 10pm.

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