Residents face wait for noise solution (+video)

By Matthew Martin

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TERESA DAY is almost at her wit's end due to noise created by the Lumbercube mill - so much so she has moved into the lounge and pushed mattresses against her windows in an attempt to soundproof her flat.

But an end to the noise is still months away - residents learnt this week it will be July before a plan to fix the noise problem is put in place.

Meanwhile, the Eastside Residents' Action Group says some local employers are becoming increasingly concerned about sleep-deprived staff, and it knows of others who have changed their sleeping arrangements to try and escape the noise.

That includes Ms Day.

"I have been living on Tarawera Rd since the beginning of April. At first I didn't know what I was hearing at night then I found myself being woken up at random times like 11.30pm, 2am, sometimes 3.30am, just when I was in a deep sleep," she said.

"Last week, I received an average of between three to five hours sleep a night."

Ms Day said this week she had to take time off work and had been feeling extremely tired.

"I moved my bedroom into the lounge, all pillows and mattresses I pushed against the windows. Basically I soundproofed my house and the results were remarkable with a better night's sleep.

"I still could hear the sounds coming from Lumbercube and was woken, but the noise reduced by a significant degree," she said.

In its latest communication to affected residents, dated May 2, Rotorua Lakes Council said it had a plan in place to finally remedy the issue, but that will not come into force until July 21 when "details of timetabled solutions Lumbercube will undertake within its operations" will be announced.

Tarawera Rd resident Teresa Day has used blankets, foam and duct tape in an attempt to soundproof her home.  Photo/Stephen Parker.
Tarawera Rd resident Teresa Day has used blankets, foam and duct tape in an attempt to soundproof her home. Photo/Stephen Parker.


"Council and Lumbercube have worked closely and, over several months, the company achieved a 19 decibel drop in sound levels through site improvements costing $2.3 million," the council's website stated. However, the council is adamant noise levels from the industrial site and the Vaughan Rd mill are compliant with the district plan.

Ms Day said she was not happy with the timeframes put in place by the council, and other residents had put up with the noise a lot longer than she had.

"I think they should be paying to soundproof everyone's homes where they are hearing the noise."

The council said it was also working with the Eastside Residents' Action Group, set up to combat noise issues in the area, to help with the problem.

An action group spokeswoman, Ros Morshead, said community feeling about the eastside noise issue was high.

"We are pleased that both council and Lumbercube have acknowledged the concerns about low frequency noise emissions, and the very real effect this is having on parts of the eastside community.

"To explain the noise to others in Rotorua, this is not general industrial noise that eastside has lived with for many years, or like noise of stadium concerts or the raceway for example.

"The noise carries in a way which is possibly similar to hearing music played through a vehicle sub-woofer - the low bass frequency 'boom' sound often heard amplifies and carries [through] windows, floors and walls, and even up through your pillow at night.

"So those living only a short distance away may not hear it, but the low frequency sound resonates quite a long distance.

"We are also aware of some of the adverse health and wellbeing effects that some people and families are experiencing from broken sleep and stress.

"Several employers have contacted us confidentially, who hadn't paid attention to the noise issue previously, because it didn't affect them in their homes. But these employers have now become concerned about their employees who live in the eastside area and are affected by the noise because, in some cases, it is affecting their employee in their work, productivity and overall wellbeing."


Eastside noise issues

- Thousands of complaints received since September last year

- Noise mitigation plan due May 31

- Implementation of the plan from July 21

- The council has set up a dedicated hotline for complaints at

(0800) 020 001

- Rotorua Daily Post

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