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Bureaucratic accounting methods shaft live music.

By johnboy - 8 May 2009 9

An interesting rant in this week’s Culturazi email:

    Corroboree Park Kerflunkt as Live Venue

    Time for more ‘typical sour grapes‘ from the ‘Johnny comes lately’ Culturazi, this time on the issue of noise. Some of you may be aware the ACT Assembly is currently inquiring into live community events. The inquiry will consider, but not be limited to:
    (a) a review of order of occupancy legislation;
    (b) options to encourage or require large commercial developments in group or town centres to provide community bollards for the promotion of events via bill posters; and
    (c) an examination of how building codes for residential and business development in commercial zones could be amended to ensure sound insulation and physical security are appropriate to co?location with live cultural events.’

    Coincidentally, the other day I received an email from the Northside Community Service (NCS) advising that they have been given a notice from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Corroboree Park Hall which the NCS manages, stating that they will be liable to fines up to $1000 for any breaches of the noise regs. After 10pm, the level of noise that could trigger a fine is set at 35 decibels, down from 45 decibels before 10pm, both of which levels are so ridiculously low (35 decibels is the level of a normal conversation) that it would be almost impossible to have an event and not be in breach. The NCS advise that hirers would be liable for any fines imposed.

    Conversations (at about 35 decibels) with the EPA revealed that their policy is to issue a warning for a first offence, followed by an indeterminate number of $200 fines and ultimately leading to court action (at their discretion) with fines of $1000 possibly being the result. Corroboree Park, having been the subject of at least one noise complaint, is now at the stage of practically automatic fines. The issue here, besides the unduly restrictive noise guidelines, is that individual hirers of Corroboree Park who breach the noise guidelines once are being treated as repeat offenders. As a communtiy organisation attempting to put on cultural events with the usual paucity of financial resources typical of community orgs, we have to reconsider whether Corroboree Park is viable as a venue.

    Fair enough, you might say, and perhaps a wooden hall across a quiet Ainslie St from domestic residences isn’t an appropriate place to hold music events, but as a person who has scoured the entire inner north of Canberra for appropriate venues, I can tell you that we are fast running out of functional music venues. Do I have an answer? No, just a penchant for a big whinge. But I’ll be watching the inquiry and such legislative and regulatory changes that may emerge from it with great interest.

Surely it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to kick some sense into the EPA and treat users of the venue separately?

The really weird thing is that seriously large events (IIRC over 5,000 people) are exempt from all these pesky noise laws.

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
Bureaucratic accounting methods shaft live music.
gomer 7:55 pm 09 May 09

While I’m thinking about it. A guy I’m slightly related too has built a live music club in his front yard. Not Canberra of course, real estate far too unrealisticly expensive here. It’s kind of like an underground bunker with a stage at one end and a bar at the other. There is another refrigerated building on top for the beer kegs. anyway he usually has a band or 3 on every friday night unless there is a really big footy game on.
The thing is it’s built in the suburbs but because it’s covered with dirt the sound is trapped and you can hardly hear anything only meters away.

Thumper 11:44 am 09 May 09

Another venue gone for original music.

You sometimes wonder why you bother writing and recording new material when you read stuff like this.

gomer 3:54 am 09 May 09

Re: perception of noise.
one time I was at a model glider flying event when the police rocked up wishing to speak to the organisers. apparently a nearby resident had complained about the noise from our model aeroplanes. hmmmmm (gliders dont have engines)
the moral is you shouldn’t underestimate the effort people will go to in order to stop you doing something they don’t like.

bloodnut 12:51 am 09 May 09

Again this is potentially an issue of neighbourly consultation pre show.

Would be very hard to argue in a court, the merit of a complaint against a show that was given a green light by immediately surrounding residents.

Grrrr 2:42 pm 08 May 09

… aaand of course I didn’t bother to notice that the OP is johnboy, rather than someone from culturazi.com. Ooops. Sorry!

Grrrr 2:39 pm 08 May 09

OP – you didn’t specify where (IE @ how many meters) the dB reading should be. 1m from your guitar is going to be much higher than at the neighbour’s mailbox. 35dB really is rather quiet.. unless it’s inside the neighbours house!

How hard have you scoured the Inner North? I suggest the Majura Community Centre as a new venue. It’s not far from Ainslie, and doesn’t have houses all around it. Majura Hall looks like it’s booked thru the NCS, just like Coroboree Park: https://www.northside.asn.au/facilities-hire/majura-hall.html

Have you talked to Dickson College or any other schools about the use of their halls?

How about the clubs – AFC, Tradies, etc? Mightn’t be the atmosphere you’re after but some club halls are even free if you buy enough drinks from their bar!

AG Canberra said :

Cars need to be 75dba at 1.5 metres from the exhaust at 45 degrees angle.

It’s 90dBA – or 96dBA for pre-1983 vehicles. Also, 94/100 for Motorbikes. Can’t find the ACT doco but pretty sure all the states are the same and NSW can be found at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/noise/vehiclenoise.htm .. thought testing was 45 degrees at 1 metre but that would only cause ~2dB difference anyway.

AG Canberra 1:49 pm 08 May 09

Cars need to be 75dba at 1.5 metres from the exhaust at 45 degrees angle. I have no idea how most modified cars meet this requirement.

I don’t know of a single jurisdiction that has successfully managed this issue. It even occurs in the middle of the city – with no residents for hundreds of metres….

ant 1:38 pm 08 May 09

It’s funny how they can apply such a sliding scale to noise. I support strict noise rules being applied in suburban areas, but wonder how all those noisy exhausts on cars and motorbikes get away with it, and of course aeroplanes, why have different rules for them?

sepi 1:08 pm 08 May 09

Bummer. That hall is close to houses tho. What about that hall near Meruci – it might be further from the houses over the road, and they will be used to more traffic noise anyway.
Or Downer Community Centre, although it isn’t that far from Frencham st.

It seems odd that 35DB is the limit for events, yet 65DB is apparently the recommended limit for planes overhead from the airport. If the airport meets their target of a plane every 3 minutes overnight at 65DB, then that would be a lot more disruptive to sleep than a gig at 45DB.

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