Should there be early morning noise restrictions in a tourist town?

Published Wednesday 6 January  2016

Following a complaint received early this morning regarding construction work taking place on the roof of a commercial building located on Macrossan Street, Newsport have investigated the matter further.

According to the complainant, the noise commenced around 7:20am allegedly involving roofing works on a building adjacent to their accommodation.

The complainant stated: “I wouldn’t expect roofing people to work in the middle of the day here, but couldn’t they start later in the morning?” Adding further,  “if Port Douglas is to be the tourism mecca it thinks it can be, people have to start thinking before they pull stunts like this.”

Newsport followed up with the contractors on site who said they commenced works around 7:15am this morning but they could commence from 6:30am, especially when trying to beat the heat.  It can easily reach 45 degrees Centigrade on the open rooftops and even higher inside the roof spaces.

Further enquiries were made with Douglas Shire Council regarding noise restrictions. They advised that The Environmental Protection Act 1994 specifies noise standards for noise emitted and Council enforces the Environmental Protection Act 1994 which is determined by the State Government.

The activities and permitted hours regarding noise emissions available on Council’s website state:

Building works (including altering or demolishing a building)

Monday to Saturday

  • 6:30am – 6:30pm noise from building work allowed
  • 6:30pm – 6:30am no audible noise permitted

Sundays and Public Holidays

  • No audible noise permitted

Some commercial and industrial properties have development approvals and conditions which must be complied with.  If a company does not comply, Council may issue a Show Cause Notice or an Enforcement Notice.

An Enforcement Notice can require the company to comply with the development conditions, take specific action or stop the activity causing the noise issues. Council can also prosecute under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 outlines allowable noise levels for different types of equipment and activities.

Council also advised that if anyone has a complaint which they believe is in breach of these regulations they can contact Council and a Regulatory Services Officer will investigate.

As to whether building contractors should start later in the morning being a tourist town, as suggested by the complainant, we asked Tourism Port Douglas Daintree Executive Officer Tara Bennett for her thoughts on the matter.

“The majority of Douglas based contractors are aware of our regions status as a world class tourist destination and as such are mindful when they carry out particularly noisy tasks. A later start time for building contractors would limit how much work they can perform which is not ideal for ongoing building and maintenance being carried out. Similar issues are experienced with rubbish removal and street cleaning,” said Ms Bennett.

Newsport welcomes your comments on whether noise restrictions need to be adjusted in a tourist town?

Newsport contacted the complainant for further comment.