Noise annoys during late night Woolies construction

CIMECO, the designer and builder of Margaret River’s Woolworths shopping complex, has apologised for breaching construction permit conditions and annoying residents with after-hours lights and noise on Friday, August 10.

Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council received four complaints after the second major concrete pour on site ran five hours over a 7pm curfew.

Council environmental health staff are investigating the complaints and whether Cimeco may have exceeded permissible noise levels.

Acting manager in environmental health, Paul Hudson, said the council had asked the Department of Environment and Conservation’s noise branch and local police to help with the investigation.

“It has not yet been confirmed if the assigned noise levels were exceeded (that) Friday evening as noise monitoring was not being undertaken on that particular night. In addition, no shire noise authorised officers or police directly observed the noise … in order to make a subjective assessment of the reasonableness of the noise being emitted,” Mr Hudson said.

“However, due to the number and consistence of the complaints, the shire believes there is reasonable likelihood that the acceptable noise levels were exceeded and the light overspill may have been of additional nuisance value to surrounding residents.”

He said council officers had contacted Cimeco about the complaints and scheduled a meeting with company executives and site supervisor Murray Morgan.

“After this meeting it will be decided if there is reasonable likelihood that the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 was breached and, if so, consider if enforcement action is appropriate,” Mr Hudson said.

“The management of noisy activities and compliance with the (noise regulations) for the rest of the build will also be discussed at the meeting.

“If the construction company wishes to do noisy construction work out of hours in the future they are required to submit a noise management plan to the satisfaction of the Shire chief executive officer.”

Cimeco has a permit allowing construction work 7am-7pm Monday-Saturday.

Mr Hudson said if it wanted to work outside those hours it needed to submit a noise management plan, at least seven days before work starts, which details why work has to be done out of hours, types of activity which could be noisy, noise level predictions, noise and vibration control measures and monitoring, and complaint response.

It also has to advise surrounding residents at least 24 hours before, he said.

Glenys Buchholz of Vintages Accommodation, just up Willmott Ave from the construction site, was one of the people who complained to council.

“They (Cimeco) showed a total disrespect for other people in the area. They had floodlighting and generators running until midnight,” Mrs Buchholz said.

“They didn’t warn anyone they were going to do that and they didn’t apply for a permit like they should have.

“We were full and we had people asking us when the noise was going to stop.”

Mrs Buchholz said she tried to phone Mr Morgan but was unable to get through initially.

“When he did answer, he just said ‘the job had to be done’,” she said.

Cimeco’s Bunbury branch manager Warren Sizer said he had already apologised to Mrs Buchholz and was “deeply apologetic” to anyone else affected by the noise or lights.

He said batching of concrete for the pour was “a little slower than we would have liked” and a cold evening temperature slowed the concrete setting.

“We have a permit that allows us to work 7-7 six days and that’s what we intend doing in future,” Mr Sizer said.

He said after some early problems with ground works at the site, construction was now expected to remain on track.

The shopping complex is due to be completed by Easter next year, he said.

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