All Joe wants is a good night’s sleep

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Christina Per­sico christina.per­sico@stuff.co.nz

After six years, Joe Roberts has had enough of the con­cret­ing firm down the road dis­rupt­ing his sleep.

The New Ply­mouth res­i­dent moved into his Cle­mow Rd home in 2012, and ever since then has been fight­ing New Ply­mouth Dis­trict Coun­cil over the move­ments of Firth Con­crete, which of­ten takes de­liv­er­ies and op­er­ates ma­chin­ery into the small hours.

‘‘Un­til Au­gust of this year, we couldn’t string a week of quiet nights to­gether,’’ he said.

‘‘My fam­ily was sleep­ing in the back lounge of our three-bed­room house. I had to pick up my daugh­ter from school be­cause she was in tears and not cop­ing due to lack of sleep.’’

NPDC says that an abate­ment no­tice, is­sued last month, will pre­vent the night noise.

Re­peated com­plaints to the coun­cil were met with assurances that it was speak­ing to Firth and re­mind­ing it of its obli­ga­tions.

But still the de­liv­er­ies in the mid­dle of the night, the vi­bra­tor ma­chine mix­ing the ce­ment and sand and other ma­chin­ery con­tin­ued. He was told to call noise con­trol, who would not show up be­fore the trucks left.

‘‘The onus was on me to prove that noise was hap­pen­ing.

‘‘I talked to the man­ager: I said ‘What right do you have to wake us up at 4 in the morn­ing?’ He said: ‘I have an agree­ment with NPDC that I’m al­lowed to do this’.’’

The ‘‘ver­bal agree­ment’’ with the coun­cil meant Firth was al­lowed to op­er­ate out­side the noise reg­u­la­tions, but the coun­cil had never told Roberts.

‘‘The agree­ment was that the house­holds re­ceive a let­ter from Firth.’’

Coun­cil cus­tomer and reg­u­la­tory so­lu­tions man­ager Ka­t­rina Brun­ton said there had never been a re­stric­tion on Firth oper­at­ing at night, but it had to meet noise re­quire­ments.

‘‘An un­der­stand­ing in 2003 en­abled Firth to have some night de­liv­er­ies but only if lo­cal res­i­dents had been in­formed.

‘‘This has been an on­go­ing is­sue for a num­ber of years and we’re sorry it’s been a prob­lem for res­i­dents near to the Cle­mow Rd site.

NPDC has been work­ing with Firth and nearby res­i­dents and has tried sev­eral ap­proaches to bal­ance these is­sues, which have arisen at times in an area where an in­dus­trial and res­i­den­tial zone are in close prox­im­ity.’’

The abate­ment no­tice re­quired Firth to com­ply with the noise limit re­quire­ments in the dis­trict plan, and can­celled out the pre­vi­ous un­der­stand­ing, she said.

‘‘NPDC will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion.’’

Roberts said the noise had slowed down since an abate­ment no­tice, ef­fec­tive from Septem­ber 17, was is­sued, but it had not stopped com­pletely.

He has also made other com­plaints in­clud­ing ce­ment dust and truck speeds.

‘‘It’s very hard to get the res­i­dents of the street to be in agree­ment to be do­ing some­thing about Firth, be­cause they have tried and tried and tried again.’’

Firth Taranaki area man­ager Owen Richard­son said they un­der­stood the con­cerns.

‘‘As per the abate­ment no­tice, Firth is now only tak­ing de­liv­er­ies within nor­mal busi­ness hours.

‘‘The pre­vi­ous un­der­stand­ing with the coun­cil al­lowed de­liv­er­ies out­side busi­ness hours if ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary but that is no longer hap­pen­ing.

‘‘We have been work­ing with the coun­cil and a sound en­gi­neer­ing com­pany for the past few months to un­der­take sound mon­i­tor­ing and will be us­ing this data to look at ways to fur­ther buf­fer sound to the sur­round­ing area.’’

SI­MON O’CON­NOR/STUFF

New Ply­mouth res­i­dent Joe Roberts with the hun­dreds of emails de­tail­ing his long bat­tle for a good night’s sleep.

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