Musicians feel heard by council

David Bennett speaking at a meeting to keep live music venues alive in Dunedin, that was held at...
David Bennett speaking at a meeting to keep live music venues alive in Dunedin, that was held at the Crown Hotel late last month,. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Musicians are singing the praises of the Dunedin City Council after Mayor Aaron Hawkins confirmed it will be reviewing planning rules around inner-city noise.

The review follows a community backlash to the recent granting of a resource consent for a four-storey, mixed-use development including apartments, next to the Crown Hotel live music venue in Rattray St.

Save Dunedin Live Music (SDLM) held a rally in the Octagon last Sunday warning of the risk the noise complaints of future neighbours could pose to the hotel’s use as a live music venue.

Mr Hawkins said people were "understandably nervous" about what the new development could mean.

Apartments in the CBD were required to protect themselves from noisy environments such as music venues under a new rule in the 2nd Generation District Plan.

"We know that there’s concern in the community that the new protections are inadequate," Mr Hawkins said.

"That’s something that we will test in the context of a wider planning review."

Work on the latest set of district plan changes, known as Variation 3, was progressing, he said.

"[It] will consider whether the acoustic insulation rules adequately support our strategic objectives, in particular around a vibrant city centre."

People would be able to make submissions when Variation 3 was publicly notified, expected to be in the first half of 2023.

Staff had discussed the council’s Heritage Fund, which supports the use of historic buildings, with the owner of the Crown.

"We also want to engage with the neighbouring developer and discuss how their tenants might be further protected from any noise issues, over and above the required acoustic insulation standards."

Council staff had also been working with SDLM to develop a live music action plan.

A draft of the plan would be presented to the incoming council in early 2023.

Themes would include developing spaces for live music, growing audiences, and supporting sustainable music enterprises.

Any decision around funding would be subject to public submissions as part of the Annual Plan process before final decisions were made around May.

SDLM spokesman David Bennett said it was a shame the changes would not make a difference to the building next to the Crown Hotel, but it was good to see a "substantial commitment" to future live music from council.

"It shows that the people going out there and making their voices heard, does have an impact and the council is listening.

"It’s a clear indication that what we have been saying is starting to get through, that the current regulations and planning approaches in Dunedin are not good enough to protect live music venues or to encourage growth of our music sector."

Mr Bennett said it was a commitment in writing, to look at the way the city approached planning with respect to live music and allow public submissions on Variation 3 of the district plan.

"Respect to the DCC and the Mayor for these statements, and we aim to do everything we can to hold them to it."