Return and Earn noise concerns at Fingal Bay

FED UP: Fingal Bay resident of 30-plus years Werner Braun says he and other residents can no longer tolerate the noise emanating from this Return & Earn unit.

FED UP: Fingal Bay resident of 30-plus years Werner Braun says he and other residents can no longer tolerate the noise emanating from this Return & Earn unit.

Some years ago the residents of Fingal Bay successfully fought off high rise developments.

Now, according to longtime resident Werner Braun, they are having to put up with a recycle station, a Return and Earn unit, forced upon them without consultation or council approval in the middle of their picturesque suburb, creating serious noise impacts and heavy traffic.

The Environmental Department says it is aware of the noise complaints.

"A number of mitigation measures are in place to reduce noise at the Fingal Bay Sports Club unit, including designated operational hours, installation of soundproofing and glass only to be collected a maximum two times per day and not after 5pm," a spokesperson said.

Mr Braun and his wife have lived on Rocky Point Road [adjacent to the Fingal Bay Bowls Club] for in excess of 30 years and while they have on occasion had to put up with drunken, rowdy patrons, this does not compare to the suffering they are subjected to daily from the noisy Return and Earn unit located in the club carpark.

"Recycling is necessary and beneficial to the environment, but it should not have a detrimental effect on people's health. The noise and traffic pollution from this unit is having a major impact on my wife and I and other nearby residents," Mr Braun said.

"The unit attracts vehicles from all over the Bay and truck movements from 7.30am to 5.30 pm. The drop of every bottle can be heard in our home. To us there is no soundproofing."

Mr Braun said that often larger vehicles, utes and trucks would bypass the Salamander shopping centre unit because of the lack of parking and travel to Fingal Bay where parking is plentiful.

"On some days we are burdened with up to five trucks and 200 vehicles coming and going. Saturdays and Sundays are the worse days. I have contacted the council, the mayor, Kate Washington, [network operator] Tomra and the club to no avail."

Earlier this year Port Stephens Council agreed to discuss the issue with Tomra after residents living close to a Return and Earn unit in the Terrace Central carpark made similar complaints.

A council spokesperson said that council was working collaboratively with Tomra and have audited alternative sites within the Raymond Terrace carpark with a view to relocating the reverse vending machine.

"The council is aware of complaints from residents at Fingal and these have been referred on to Tomra's customer relations manager to handle. Council has spoken with Tomra about the complaints and the location of the unit."

The spokesperson said that the council did not have the power to enforce property owners to relocate the units.

"The legislation requires the noise to fit the definition of offensive noise before it can take action. The noise is not atypical for the area and does not occur at a time of day when it would be unreasonable."