Assessment of noise 'flawed'

A decision by Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) commissioners to ignore traffic and pedestrian noise and assess a Queenstown bar "almost in a vacuum" was "fundamentally flawed", the Environment Court heard in Queenstown yesterday.

Guilty As Ltd counsel Rex Chapman made the remarks to Judge Fred McElrea and commissioners Charles Manning and Owen Borlase, on the first day of the appeal by Guilty As Ltd against the QLDC decision to refuse the company resource consent.

Guilty As was declined permission to vary its consent to use its 70sq m enclosed outside wooden deck from 10pm to 1am and to exceed the district plan noise limit by 10dBA.

The company also wanted smoking, but not drinking, patrons to use the deck after 1am until closing.

Ngai Tahu Property Ltd owns the bar site and had given affected party approval.

Following mediation, Mr Chapman said acoustic consultants for both Guilty As and the council had jointly conducted ambient sound monitoring on August 7 and 9 last year.

However, they could not agree if the noise level from the neighbouring Pig & Whistle, which was greater than the district plan limit of 50dBA, should be considered part of the existing environment.

Judge McElrea asked if it was possible to exclude the Pig & Whistle from Guilty Bar noise measurements.

Mr Chapman said it was, and Dr Jeremy Trevathan, acoustic engineer, would explain how for the appellant.

The application attracted 54 submissions - 50 in support and four against.

Two of the opposing submitters were Eichardt's Private Hotel and Peter Fleming and Associates.

Victoria Shaw, former manager of Eichardt's, was present as the representative of Highland Resorts Ltd, the company behind Eichardt's Private Hotel.

Mr Fleming represented himself, with assistance from solicitor Wayne McKeague.

Warren Cooper, representing the owner of the building directly opposite Guilty Bar, said he would apply to join the proceedings as a party.

The three opposing parties shared concerns about noise levels and asked what user rights the Pig & Whistle enjoyed, but those concerns were not relevant to the application, Mr Chapman said.

Guilty As and the council had agreed the bar would restrict its extended deck hours to Thursday to Saturday nights and a limit should remain on other nights when ambient noise levels were lower.

The judge asked if Mr Cooper had been given any assurances about the noise level and if there were any original 2007 consent conditions for the bar which were relevant.

The QLDC was represented by counsel Tony Ray.

Judge McElrea adjourned the hearing for the panel to read evidence and visit the site.

The hearing is scheduled to resume today at 9.30am.

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