Business dispute continutes

The on going dispute between residents and a local business over the flushing of marine engines continues after the issue was discussed by Port Augsuta City Councillors and the concerned parties had a meeting yesterday.

My Car Wash received development consent from Port Augusta City Council in August 2009.

Initially users of the car wash were allowed to flush their outboard boat motors, however responding to noise complaints from nearby residents, the council banned the activity.

An information report by the council’s community planner Tung Pham explaining the issue was tabled at the latest strategic management committee meeting and councillors were allowed to have their say.

The report explains that after receiving the noise complaint in relation to the flushing of marine engines a thorough check of the detail of the initial application was made.

The check confirmed that the flushing of marine engines was not a part of the car wash application and the council deemed that it wasn’t part of normal operation.

“It is reasonable to accept that a normal operation of any car wash facility would also involve the cleaning of the exterior of other types of vehicles such as boats, trailers, caravans, motor homes and motorbikes,” the report said.

“However, the flushing of marine engines is not a similar activity because this activity involves the running of the engine for a short period of time thus causing correspondingly higher noise levels.”

The report however fails to provide proof of these increased noise levels only suggesting that “these noise levels are likely to exceed the EPA’s Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007”.

Many councillors were concerned that the complaint of one person could stifle local business.

Councillor Phillip Brown said he didn’t agree with the decision and questioned how a decision could be made on assumptions.

“I can’t agree with how the city planner has gone about this,” he said.

“I understand people’s level of noise must be respected but one person can complain and it can hold back development.”

Councillor Peter Solomon was also concerned.

“Businesses should be given every opportunity to succeed,” he said.

“I think it’s a restriction of trade.”

Councillors did not get to vote on the decision.