UPDATE: Protesters camped outside Eastside mill (+video)

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Residents of Rotorua's eastern suburbs have upped the pressure about noise issues in the area by holding a protest outside the Lumbercube mill.

But, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick told the Rotorua Daily Post Rotorua Lakes Council had no intention of shutting the mill down until more information had been gathered, adding recent sound testing revealed the mill was not breaking noise limits under the district
plan.

She said a further 67 noise complaints were received overnight Thursday.

Lumbercube management said they were doing everything they could to reduce the noise and had spent around $1.7 million on the problem.

Between 6am and 9.30am today about 40 people staged a protest outside the mill on Vaughan Rd.

Protesters said they had had enough of the noise coming from the mill and wanted the council to shut it down until the noise issues had been resolved.

Since Lumbercube opened in September, the council has received more than 1350 complaints, with a spike when the mill started a night shift in early March.

Protesters outside Lumbercube this morning.  Photo/Ben Fraser
Protesters outside Lumbercube this morning. Photo/Ben Fraser


The council has had difficulties testing noise levels and has identified other sites in the industrial area that were contributing to noise complaints.

Eastside Residents Action Group spokeswoman Ros Morshead, who was at the protest, said the group held a meeting on Thursday night to discuss forming an incorporated society to help combat the noise and other issues they felt were affecting residents now and in the future.

She said the impromptu protest was successful and protesters got a lot of support from passing motorists.

"The meeting [on Thursday] went really well with about 100 people from the wider eastside community attending. It was a positive and constructive meeting."

She said a decision was made to form an incorporated society to bring the council's attention to a number of issues.

"People have expressed their concerns about the eastern arterial, zoning changes, traffic and noise, incrementally and collectively having an impact on their lives.

"This is all about fairness, transparency and accountability. People are really hurting out there and these decisions will affect us for a long time," she said.

Lynmore Ave resident Kathryn Bloor said she attended the protest with her husband as they had both had enough of the council's and Lumbercube's excuses.

"We came because they are keeping us awake at night with their constant thumping.

"There's been no real action by the council and we'd like to see them stop the mill's noise until they have the issues sorted. It's been going on long enough now."

Mrs Bloor said protesters would be back at the site at some stage if their concerns were not heard.

Protesters outside Lumbercube this morning.  Photo/Ben Fraser
Protesters outside Lumbercube this morning. Photo/Ben Fraser


"We'll be back, we can't go away, we live here, and we can't just stop hearing the noise," she said.

Mrs Chadwick said she was aware of the group's plans and was told about the protest this morning.

"I've always been open to the group to come and meet with me. We are still building evidence of where the noise is coming from but we are also aware of the community interest and the increased levels of concern."

She said the council was not in a position to issue Lumbercube with an abatement notice at this stage.

"We want to see the results of testing over the weekend and I want to put down some time frames to get this resolved. It's not a simple thing to do, but I'm not going to sit on this for much longer," she said.

Lumbercube media spokesman Brent Devcich said the company acknowledged concerns expressed by residents and wanted to assure them the company was committed to doing whatever was practically possible to alleviate those concerns.

"We are undertaking an audit of work to date and will publish the first summary and report of work in progress on Thursday April 21.

"We have commissioned, and been working closely with, acoustic experts and council, who have identified that both Lumbercube and other businesses in the surrounding area do generate a level of noise that some residents find a nuisance.

"While we are operating in an industrial zone, we acknowledge our responsibility to do whatever we practically can to minimise our contribution to these noise levels.

"To date, under the guidance of acoustic experts, Lumbercube has invested in excess of $1.7 million in remedial capital to make significant changes to the processing plant.

"This work resulted in significant reductions to the noise emitting from our site. We are however continuing to work on further noise control measures, but note that this is an ongoing process that involves an extensive regime of testing, evaluation and potentially the design and manufacture of engineered solutions," Mr Devcich said.


Eastern suburbs' noise issues
- A protest was held outside the Lumbercube mill yesterday
- About 40 people were protesting against the noise created
- Protesters want the mill closed until the noise problem is resolved
- More than 1350 complaints have been received by the council
- Noise testing is still underway with three companies involved

- Rotorua Daily Post

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