Road rail terminal noise levels within acceptable limits
Council is pleased to announce that the results of a noise assessment done at the proposed rail road terminal site will comply with noise levels set under the District Plan.
"Concerns about noise levels were raised by neighbours living in the residential area that adjoins the industrial zone where the development will be happening," said Ben Smit, Council's Deputy Chief Executive. "As a result of these concerns, Council engaged an independent noise consultant to assess noise levels associated with the current operation and do thorough modelling on predicted noise levels."
The noise levels in the District Plan are based on a standard that is used throughout New Zealand to set appropriate noise levels for different environments like residential, industrial etc.
"The outcome is pleasing, however we acknowledge that some neighbours continue to have reservations," continued Mr Smit. "The results show that the noise levels at nearby houses and industrial zoned land will comply with the District Plan noise limits. Council and RJ Lincoln have provided assurances at every opportunity that we will ensure the mitigation measures assumed in the noise modelling are actioned.
To ensure that the operation stays within acceptable levels, Council and RJ Lincoln will be putting a noise management plan detailing mitigation measures includes:
- Forklifts installed with smart devices instead of the traditional 'beeping' when in reverse.
- Training for forklift operators to use machines at reduced speeds and engine revs; as well as being mindful of noise associated with picking up and putting down containers.
- Additional or secondary mufflers installed on the large container loading forklift.
- Refrigerated container units will not be stored near the neighbouring residential properties.
- The hours of operation will be within the daytime period of 7am to 10pm, in accordance with the District Plan.
- Future building design and expansion will consider noise minimisation methods.
It will also include appointing a Noise Liaison Officer (at RJ Lincoln), establishing a complaints system within Council and enforcing noise limitations through existing noise monitoring staff and reviewing procedures within the first year of operations.
Other mitigation measures like creating berms of dirt, planting trees and building fences were investigated, but unfortunately none of them would have created a noise barrier without being extremely high which; which in turn would result in both unreasonable aesthetics and blocked sunlight.
"The reality is that the development will not result in a dramatic increase in activity and volumes," said Gavin O'Donoghue of RJ Lincoln. "Our operations currently run from 7am to around 6pm; on the odd occasion to 8pm, but only very rarely. Because the new operation will be smoother and more efficient, in all likelihood, the hours of operation will actually decrease. We are investing in quieter machinery, including double muffling on machines and changing the reverse beep on forklift trucks to a quieter method; and ensuring lighting and glare are directed away from residential properties and are within the District Plan, among a number of other things."
Earthworks are expected to start pre-Christmas.
"At the neighbour meeting on Monday evening, Council was very pleased to hear that while residents are still concerned, many acknowledge that the development is important to the economic growth of the town," continued Mr Smit.
"Both Council and RJ Lincoln and partners are conscious of neighbours' concerns. We are taking positive steps to mitigate noise and other issues," said Mayor Neil Sinclair. "This industrial development is a fantastic example of forward thinking of industrial development that will have a significant impact on the economic future of the district."
"With economic growth and potential new business development as a result, we are optimistic about our population decline stabilising." Ends: words 602