A Rotorua district councillor is calling on Lumbercube to pay for $30,000 sound-testing equipment bought by the Rotorua Lakes Council.
The council recently invested in the portable all-weather noise measurement system which it hopes will better monitor noise coming from the Vaughan Rd mill. There have been thousands of noise complaints from eastside residents since the mill started operation in September last year.
Councillor and chairwoman of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group Glenys Searancke told the Rotorua Daily Post the cost should be borne by the mill.
"I don't think there is any reason why ratepayers should have to pay for this," Mrs Searancke said.
"It's being used specifically for the problem caused by Lumbercube and this is a specific problem to the eastside.
"I think it's the wrong mill in the wrong place, and I'm not sure if we are ever going to resolve this issue, not in the near future anyway."
Mrs Searancke said she had a lot of sympathy for residents affected. "People are having interrupted sleep, they did not ask for this, it's been thrust upon them ... It's unfortunate but this could end up costing a fortune. It's a tricky one," she said.
Lumbercube did not respond to requests for comment.
When asked by the Rotorua Daily Post why ratepayers should foot the bill for the new equipment, the council's strategy and partnerships group manager Jean-Paul Gaston said the equipment would allow staff to help residents overcome the problems. He said Lumbercube was not asked to cover its cost.
"We do have other sound-testing technology which relies on our staff doing the testing. This particular machine is portable, operates 24/7 without staff involvement, and is weatherproof."
He said manual testing equipment had limitations and relied on staff operating it on-site.
"It does, however, have limitations such as not being able to be used in drizzle or rain, and due to the fact it cannot be securely left on-site [it] needs to have a staff member present at all times while in use.
"We see this as a valuable piece of regulatory equipment," Mr Gaston said.
"It's important our staff have the tools for the job and this equipment is cost-effective. Council has already collected sufficient data on the current eastside noise profile.
"The new equipment has been purchased with a different focus on providing long-term data about the eastside noise profile from specific locations following the completion of all required remedial works at Lumbercube."