Man calls mayor for late-night noise complaint

By Simon Hendery

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Hastings District Council has come under fire for late-night roadworks on St Aubyn St. Photo/Glenn Taylor
Hastings District Council has come under fire for late-night roadworks on St Aubyn St. Photo/Glenn Taylor

Hastings man Rod McCann couldn't stop the loud, late-night roadworks outside his home but he may have helped curb another form of noise pollution - the sound of the politicians' cellphone ringing through the night.

Mr McCann phoned the Hastings District Council after enduring two nights of work on the roundabout outside his house on the corner of St Aubyn St East and Willowbank Rd which went on until 1am yesterday.

"If it went to 10 o'clock at night, okay, you'd put up with it for a couple of nights," he said.

But after being told the late-night work was scheduled to continue through this week, Mr McCann called the council to complain about the noise late on Monday.

A noise-control officer visited the site but said there was nothing he could do. Mr McCann called the council back and said he was surprised when the call-taker gave him cellphone numbers for Mayor Lawrence Yule and two councillors.

"I don't know who they are. I'm an Aussie. I've only been here six years," he said.

"I couldn't believe they were spilling out home phone numbers for mayors and all that. Where's the Privacy Act?"

He phoned Mr Yule's number about 10.40pm but the mayor did not pick up.

Councillor Wayne Bradshaw said yesterday he missed a call from Mr McCann about 10.30pm, which he returned about half an hour later.

"He held the phone up outside and it was pretty damn noisy."

Mr Bradshaw said he sympathised with Mr McCann and wondered what the "compelling reason" was for the council to allow work so late at night.

The council's transportation manager, Jag Pannu, said in order to minimise traffic disruption on a busy section of road it was decided that the surface replacement work outside Mr McCann's home would be undertaken in the evening.

"Council recognises that this type of work does cause disruption to the lifestyle of nearby residents and the decision to undertake roading contracts in the evening is not made lightly. However in this case, the impact on traffic flow of having the work done during the day could not be ignored."

Community safety manager Phil Evans said the decision of the environmental health officer who responded to Mr McCann's noise complaint not to close down the worksite was based on rules that prohibit noise control from taking any action on a vehicle in motion.

"The complaint centred around the noise being created by construction and compaction vehicles working on a road reserve and this was outside the officer's enforcement authority."

A council spokesman said an operator working in the council's after-hours call centre should not have given out politicians' mobile numbers.

"Managers of the call centre have been made aware that this procedure is incorrect when they are dealing with operational matters."

Mr Yule said he missed Mr McCann's call because his phone was on silent. The council had an "open and available" policy and his mobile number was on its website but in a situation like Mr McCann's there was little he could do late at night.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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