Sum­mer sounds abound

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

les­ley.hunter­[email protected]

AH SUM­MER­TIME, the days are longer, the flow­ers are bloom­ing and, glo­ri­ously, traf­fic is lighter. One might as­sume this would be a recipe for re­lax­ation, es­pe­cially for those on leave. But not so ac­cord­ing to some of the reports I’ve been hear­ing.

Ask­ing friends about their Christ­mas pe­ri­ods has re­vealed just how fraught the school hol­i­days can be. And I’m not talk­ing about the ubiq­ui­tous fam­ily row here, I’m talk­ing about noise dis­putes.

Friend A de­scribed what she con­sid­ered to be a com­plete over-re­ac­tion by her next door neigh­bour to her two chil­dren splash­ing around in the pool.

This neigh­bour al­legedly erected an ugly fence and a speaker to drown out the of­fend­ing sound of laugh­ter.

She also re­ported lit­ter be­ing thrown into the pool, in­clud­ing a burger, ap­par­ently to ex­press dis­gust and per­haps to dis­cour­age sum­mer­time swim­ming. Down with that kind of thing.

In the end, my friend felt in­tim­i­dated to the point of calling the po­lice who had a nice long chat with Mr Dis­grun­tled about his be­hav­iour.

A seem­ingly gen­uine apol­ogy re­sulted but the peace didn’t last and mu­sic was blared into my friend’s garden all day on Christ­mas Day, even though Mr Dis­grun­tled wasn’t even there. Bah Hum­bug.

Friend B sits on the other side of the fence, fig­u­ra­tively speak­ing. Her hol­i­day tale of woe saw hopes for a quiet and rest­ful time dashed by the fam­ily next door com­pris­ing two young boys and a dog. This ter­ri­ble two­some had ac­cess to a pool, a bas­ket­ball hoop and a soc­cer goal, all of which caused my friend dis­tress over the hol­i­day pe­riod.

Bounce-bounce-crash, she com­plained, was the un­end­ing cho­rus to her time off and a po­lite chat to the dad only made mat­ters worse. “You live in a city, get used to it” was his re­sponse, and he has a point, but he should take a dose of his own medicine too.

De­spite many peo­ple act­ing like they would rather avoid all neigh­bourly con­tact the bot­tom line is that we all have to live to­gether in this thriv­ing me­trop­o­lis.

Ex­ces­sive noise is an­noy­ing and can be stress­ful but most of us live in prox­im­ity to oth­ers so it is at times un­avoid­able.

But does that mean com­pro­mise is im­pos­si­ble? For the sake of my friends’ san­ity I hope not. Of course there are of­fi­cial channels in place to deal with noise dis­putes and guide­lines can be found on the Bris­bane City Council web­site but we all know us­ing them is pro­tracted and ar­du­ous process.

In 2018, there were 9599 res­i­den­tial noise com­plaints. Surely some of those could have been avoided if the com­plainant had a lit­tle more tol­er­ance and the per­pe­tra­tor a lit­tle more con­sid­er­a­tion.

Call me a sick­en­ing op­ti­mist, but I can’t help hop­ing that in 2019 we can lower the in­dig­nance levels enough, get down off our high horses and talk to each other. And maybe even lis­ten too.

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