4 February 2022

'Unbearable' noise drives Gungahlin residents inside or away from the area: Opposition

| Lottie Twyford
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Residents near Horse Park Drive say the noise from trucks is unbearable. Photo: Google Maps.

Gungahlin residents who live near Horse Park Drive and surrounds are being driven to barricade themselves in their homes or leave the area entirely because of construction and related truck noise, the Opposition claims.

According to one unnamed resident, they and their family have spent the summer cooped up inside “with our doors and windows closed because we have large trucks hauling excavation materials rumbling past every 45 seconds”.

The resident described the situation as unbearable.

“There are lots of angry and distressed people out here in Gungahlin. We have got to the point where we are so affected by the noise we are having real estate agents appraise our beloved home of many years with a view to selling it,” they said.

Gungahlin Community Council president Peter Elford said he is aware of a noise issue in the Amaroo area, particularly for people whose houses back onto Horse Park Drive, but isn’t sure how widespread it is.

Mr Elford said he’s also heard some of these residents had contacted Minister for Transport Chris Steel about the problem and “had not been satisfied with the outcome”.

“We, the Gungahlin Community Council, wrote to the ACT Government last October to try to establish a regular meeting to discuss a whole range of issues [relating to transport, roads and city services] in Gungahlin,” he said.

They’ve yet to get a response.

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But Mr Elford said it isn’t an issue the GCC is overly-focused on, and they haven’t sought to establish an active campaign about it, for example.

“We might get an occasional comment about it, but we haven’t specifically addressed anything to the Minister or the Directorate,” he explained.

Mr Elford also noted noise complaints – about construction noise and roads – do crop up occasionally, but the GCC doesn’t yet hold a particular position about what’s to be done about it.

Likewise, Mr Elford said noise profiles, particularly in the growing region, can change over time.

“When people first move into the suburb, their property might back onto a road which is a single lane – five or ten years later that’s a dual carriageway.

“I guess that’s one of the consequences of being in a new development area,” he noted.

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Nevertheless, the noise problem has been pounced upon by Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley who is calling on the ACT Government to review its noise environment policy.

“No one should have to put up with this constant noise and the Minister must review noise control and time restrictions for these large construction vehicles,” Ms Castley said.

“The constant noise from the ‘truck and dog’ style trailers has driven some residents to quit the area while others have complained about being barricaded in their homes over summer with doors and windows shut to reduce the noise.”

Ms Castley claims the issue affects hundreds of residents who live near Horse Park Drive, Mulligans Flat Road, Gundaroo Drive, Well Station Drive, Gozzard Street and Anthony Rolfe Avenue.

She’s also said the government has proven itself unwilling to engage with concerned residents and alleges one local received a response to a complaint last year which read, “noise levels experienced from Horse Park Drive are below the thresholds set out in the ACT Government’s Noise Management Guidelines”.

According to a spokesperson for the government, a noise survey was carried out in May 2021 on Buckingham Street in Amaroo to measure road noise from Horse Park Drive after residents requested it.

“The results of both surveys indicated that noise levels are below the threshold set out in the ACT Government’s Noise Guidelines,” the spokesperson said. Copies of the reports were provided to residents.

Furthermore, the government says noise from vehicles being driven on public roads is exempt from noise guidelines under environmental protection regulations.

The spokesperson said any residents concerned with road noise in the ACT should contact Transport Canberra and City Services Fix My Street.

Original Article published by Lottie Twyford on Riotact.

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