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Living in a city that never sleeps

27 May 2004

Living in a city that never sleeps

Auckland City’s Central Business District (CBD) is undergoing a dramatic growth in its residential population, prompting the council to examine ways of promoting peaceful coexistence between residents and entertainment facilities.

The debate was sparked by a complaint over noise at the Centro nightclub in Wyndham Street on Sunday 23 May. A council noise control officer visited the site and following an assessment of the noise, issued an excessive noise notice to the manager.

An excessive noise notice is valid for 72 hours and instructs the offender to reduce the noise immediately to within acceptable levels (65 decibels from 7am to 11pm and 70 decibels at 63Hz or 65 decibels at 125Hz from 11pm to 7am).

A further complaint was received at 2.30am and the duty officer returned to the site and again found the noise to be excessive, at this time the stereo equipment was seized and impounded. This equipment was returned on Monday morning when the owner signed a declaration acknowledging the infringement and an understanding of the city noise restrictions.

Auckland City is planning for 32,000 inner city residents by 2021 and has a vision to position the CBD internationally as one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic business and cultural centres.

The changing face of the city raises issues for a range of commercial and residential occupants in how they might harmoniously co-exist. Council’s environmental health and planning departments are looking into noise. One option is to review acoustic insulation controls for new residential and commercial activities, or investigate establishing an accord between existing occupiers.

Accords have been established with residents and businesses in Viaduct Harbour and K-Road. Viaduct Harbour guidelines involved residents closing external doors after a certain hour and licensed premises being mindful of noise outputs.

“Until revised guidelines are established, the council asks that all occupiers take a commonsense approach and don’t deliberately set out to be bad neighbours. Resident and commercial operators must accept that Auckland’s CBD is a mixed-use zone with a view to accommodating an increasing level of activity and residential occupants,” said council senior planner, Vijay Lala.

He added that confiscation of equipment is rare in the CBD and most of the 12,000 complaints received in a year are from the suburbs.


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