Music venues tell residents to soundproof

B y BOHDANA SZYDLIK
MUSIC venues across Canberra are calling for changes to building codes that would introduce mandatory sound insulation for all future residential and business developments near existing music venues.

Recent complaints about noise have been made about Transit Bar from resiodents of the Waldorf apartments.

An ACT Legislative Assembly committee is inquiring into live community events in Canberra. The inquiry is looking into the order of occupancy (who was there first), alternatives for advertising gigs and concerts around the ACT and examining building codes to ensure buildings are soundproofed.

Glen Boorn, owner of the Old Canberra Inn in Lyneham, says legislation should require new residential developments close to existing music venues to have soundproofing.

Order of occupancy would aim to prevent long-standing live entertainment venues being forced to stop live events because of noise complaints from new developments.

“Noise complaints are an ongoing threat to the future of live music in Canberra,” Boorn says, “If you talk to local musos they’ll tell you Canberra lacks a bit in the music scene.”

The manager of Waldorf apartments, Mark Higgins, in his submission to the committee, says soundproofing should be up to the music venue.

“The very simple answer to excess noise is for the venues that play loud live music be it live or amplified that they have the obligation to sound proof the venue so that the noise contained within the premises that hold the event and the excess loud noise does not leak outside the venue premises., he said .

Local music activist Andrew Mottram is worried that new legislation maybe similar to that in Melbourne, which recently saw iconic music venues closed after increased security requirements and higher licensing fees.

“Canberra is such a young city, and so highly planned, that the development of our music culture follows a different pattern to the one seen in cities with a longer history and larger size,” he said. “It requires careful legislative choices that recognise the value of the local music scene and protect it during a relatively early stage of development.”

The ACT Democrats have recommended that the ACT Government contribute funding for the fitting of soundproofing in existing residential buildings, with priority given to buildings within the CBD or close to entertainment venues.

The inquiry is taking submissions to help formulate the recommendations they will give the Government in June.

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