Business told to quit
Couple say they felt bullied by council
An Alexandra couple say they have been left feeling bullied and unsupported by the Central Otago District Council after being required to downsize their business because of noise complaints. The Mirror was approached by a concerned friend of Macs Macrocarpa Outdoor Furniture owners Malcolm and Jackie Bruce who believed the pair were being unfairly treated by the council. The pair moved to Alexandra about two years ago and started running the business from a Boundary Rd property about 18 months ago. Since then the businesses had ‘‘gone berserk’’ and the pair had been rushed off their feet filling orders. It was decided before Christmas to expand the business onto a property on Ellis St, rented from Delta Utility Services. Mr Bruce said he had his own concerns about noisy equipment, including a chainsaw slabbing mill, and tried to use it as little as possible. About two months ago he was asked by Delta not to use the machines because they had been getting complaints from the council about the noise. The business ceased using them straight away and began the process of looking for a more suitable property, despite the
rented land being industrial area. While on the hunt for a new spot Mr Bruce said he received a call from council planning team leader Ann Rodgers and said he was told to shut down operations at the Ellis St site immediately. Mr Bruce said he was ‘‘committed to fitting in with the community’’ and had tried to work with the council about sorting out a solution but had been ‘‘cut out of the loop’’ because they were not the landowners. ‘‘Council haven’t been clear with us. They haven’t given us anything in writing. We’ve
in an been rung up, bullied and told we had to shut down,’’ he said. Mrs Bruce said ‘‘there is no support whatsoever for a new business in town to grow. The way we feel at the moment is we are not welcome by the council. ‘‘You can see why so many businesses relocate to Cromwell.’’ Two contractors hired by the business had to be let go. ‘‘We’ve effectively had to downsize the business until we get it sorted out,’’ Mr Bruce said. No readings of the noise levels have been taken. Ms Rodgers said that when she rang Mr Bruce to speak with him he hung up on her
Council haven’t been clear with us. They haven’t given us anything in writing. We’ve been rung up, bullied and told we had to shut
and she was forced to speak directly with Delta because she had no other way of contacting Mr Bruce. Letters the council wrote to Mr Bruce were ‘‘returned to sender’’ and the only cooperation had been from Delta, she said. However, the Bruces said they did not believe any mail had been sent because, despite there being no mailbox at the Boundary Rd premises, they always received their mail from the mail man. They also felt the council ‘‘pestered’’ Delta’s Dunedin headquarters about the issue. Ms Rodgers said the work was extremely noisy. ‘‘It’s right next to residential homes. When you’re next to a residential zone you have to be mindful of elderly people or people with babies.’’ Noise readings were not taken because it did not get to the stage where they would be needed because Delta had said they would sort it out, she said.
Looking: Macs Macrocarpa Outdoor Furniture owners Malcolm and Jackie Bruce feel let down by the Central Otago District Council after they have been forced to downsize their business because of noise complaints.