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A ''constant barrage of noise'' from some orchards during fruit harvesting season sounded like World War 3 had broken out, an Alexandra vineyard owner told a planning hearing this week.

Continuous noise from dawn to dusk during the three-month period included sirens and cannons for bird-scaring and helicopters flying overhead, Paul Keast said.

Noise from two-bladed frost-fighting fans also disturbed the peace, he told the Central Otago District Council's 10-year plan hearing.

''I was out pruning in the snow [on Wednesday] and it was peaceful out there, but for three months of the year, things change quite drastically.''

Mr Keast lives on Letts Gully Rd, on the outskirts of Alexandra, and said he was a relative newcomer to the area. Noise pollution would become a bigger issue as more people moved on to rural blocks, he said.

His vineyard used nets to keep birds out but several orchards used bird-scaring cannons or sirens, resulting in ''artificial noises'' in the environment, which could be very disconcerting.

Two-bladed frost fans were cheaper than fans with more blades but they were also noisier and less efficient, Mr Keast said.

He urged the council to restrict what could be used on horticulture and viticulture blocks as bird-scaring devices and for frost-fighting.

''Continuing to state that it's a rural area and noise is to be expected is not an excuse.

''Some rural noises are to be expected in the country at certain times and for short duration; however, the constant barrage of noises from frost fans (all night sometimes) and from dawn to dusk for bird-scaring, continuously for more than three months, is not acceptable to the majority of the residents of rural areas.''

When the council considered submissions on Thursday, Cr Malcolm Topliss said something needed to be done ''urgently'' about Mr Keast's concerns.

''It's totally unacceptable as far as I'm concerned.''

Mayor Tim Cadogan acknowledged Mr Topliss' comment but said the issue had to be looked at during the district plan review later this year.

Cr Martin McPherson said the plan already listed noise limits.


When I joined the staff of a district council a few years ago there was a poster on the wall in the planning department pointing out that rural areas are, in effect, very large industrial areas. Think carefully, it suggested, before moving in next to the factory.

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