Noise complaints ''worst for a number of years''. Photo by
Noise control officers will be expensive party guests
under a new Dunedin City Council policy.
The council says it will impose fines of $500 on those who
have their property seized after being issued with an
excessive noise direction, council environmental health team
leader Ros MacGill says.
The fines would be in addition to the $56 charge for seizures
and $26 per day for storage at present, she said.
The fines were available to the council under the Resource
Management Act but the number of noise complaints and
associated violence seen in Castle St last weekend marked the
tipping point for their enforcement.
The tougher stance was required because ''parties are getting
considerably larger and therefore it is more difficult to
manage the situation when we are called out'', she said.
Noise control officers from Armourguard had issued more than
450 excessive noise directions and made almost 60 seizures so
far this year, she said.
It was hoped the threat of a $500 fine would act as ''an
incentive'' for partying residents to turn down the volume
rather than face property seizure after excessive noise
directions were issued.
The ''attitude and behaviour and the disregard when we ask
them to stop'' was making the job of seizing property and
issuing excessive noise directions potentially dangerous for
noise control officers, she said.
''It's becoming quite a health and safety matter.''
Armourguard regional manager Otago and Southland Ben Wooding
said it was ''positive step'' towards controlling noise
problems in the city and particularly North Dunedin.
The number of complaints coming from North Dunedin was ''the
worst it's been for a number of years''.
Armourguard staff were also finding parties where rented
sound equipment was being used.
''The amount of noise is a direct contributor to the size of
the party and the larger the party, the larger the risk to
our officers,'' Mr Wooding said.
He was ''very, very supportive'' of the measures.
Southern police, who accompany Armourguard staff during
property seizures, said it was also supportive of the
Otago University Students' Association president Ruby
Sycamore-Smith said OUSA was working with the council to
improve the situation.
''The OUSA is ... looking into the possibility of a campaign
to help inform students about how the noise control service
works, what warnings will be given and what penalties may be
imposed,'' she said.
''We also want to advise them on how best to avoid having
complaints made against them.''
The measures come into force next week.