Rail noise within district plan limits
Tokoroa election, and this has been my ‘grump’ for a long time.
I have long been of the opinion that politicians (local, national and international) cannot be trusted to tell us the truth. They become devoid of common sense and quickly lose sight of what their role is. Most of them these days are career politicians and have very little idea about what happens out in the real world.
I suggest that people should not be allowed to stand as an MP until they have had at least 20 years experience out in mainstream living. So much for democracy! Raewyn Habergham
Putaruru News that Tokoroa’s impending rail siding will be compliant with district plan noise levels comes as little consolation to frustrated neighbours against the development.
The $2.5 million venture, which has been discussed for the past eight months, will allow direct road-rail container loading and unloading, making Tokoroa a key distribution centre.
Concerns about noise levels were raised by neighbours such as Liz Peni whose home adjoins the industrial zone where the development will be happening.
South Waikato District Council deputy chief executive Ben Smit said an independent noise consultant was hired as a result to assess current, and predict future, noise levels.
‘‘The outcome is pleasing, however we acknowledge that some neighbours continue to have reservations,’’ Smit said. ‘‘ The results show that the noise levels at nearby houses and industrial zoned land will comply with the district plan noise limits.’’
The council and RJ Lincoln will be putting a noise management plan in place detailing mitigation measures including installing forklifts with smart devices instead of the traditional beeping when in reverse, additional or secondary mufflers installed on the large container loading forklift and ensuring refrigerated container units will not be stored near the neighbouring residential properties.
Peni said she found it hard to see how they had predicted future noise levels.
‘‘You really can’t measure those sorts of things until after it’s built ... How can you have a person who detects noise when there’s no noise apart from one building at the moment.’’
She said it felt as if the neighbours were an ‘‘afterthought’’.
‘‘It’s just that you know they are just not listening to us, they are just showing what they’re doing on their side of the fence.
The hours of operation will be within the ‘‘daytime’’ period of 7am to 10pm, in accordance with the district plan.
But Peni said that could hardly be considered daytime.
‘‘Gee that’s a bit late for daylight hours. I thought daylight hours were from dawn till dark.
‘‘There again, it might not seem long for them and they said they only run till about 8pm but they still have that option to run till 10pm and that doesn’t leave us with much privacy for the rest of the day so we can enjoy our homes and our families.’’
She said coming to terms with the impact the development will have on their lives had been huge.
‘‘We’re not against developing but this is quite an emotional trip for most of the ones [living] along the railway.
‘‘I said it’s good that we’re getting progress, just at least think about how we feel.’’
Part of the noise mitigation plan will include appointing a noise liaison officer at RJ Lincoln to establish a complaints system within the council and enforce noise limitations through existing noise monitoring staff and reviewing procedures within the first year of operations.
Other mitigation measures like creating berms of dirt, planting trees and building fences were investigated, but none of them would have created a noise barrier without being extremely high which in turn would result in both unreasonable aesthetics and blocked sunlight.
‘‘The reality is that the development will not result in a dramatic increase in activity and volumes,’’ Gavin O’Donoghue of RJ Lincoln said.
‘‘Our operations currently run from 7am to around 6pm; on the odd occasion to 8pm, but only very rarely. Because the new operation will be smoother and more efficient, in all likelihood, the hours of operation will actually decrease.’’
Earthworks are expected to start Christmas.