QT’s noise wars


Some residents describe it as “party central”, another says it’s not that bad – but by the numbers, Thompson Street is Queenstown’s noisiest drag.

Figures released to Mountain Scene by City Hall show the central street is on track to be Queenstown’s noisiest this year.

There’ve been a total of 2690 noise complaints across the Queenstown Lakes district since August 31, 2016.

So far this year, Thompson St tops the resort’s loud list with 36 complaints.

That far outstrips the 25 made about runner-up Watts Road and the 23 made about Frankton Road.

Queenstowner Pete Jahnsen’s lived on Thompson St for 40 years.

He describes it as “party central” on weekends.

“It’s the Airbnbs that are the problem.

“It’s generally a group, they’re excited, they’re all on the booze.”

He reckons most people will quieten down after a friendly visit from next door, or a word from their mates.

“It’s the chemically-enhanced ones that are playing their doof-doof music – that really pisses me off.”

Jahnsen says with the number of people living in each house increasing, the general noise is going up as well.

“Us poor old locals have got to live with it.”

Another man spoken to this week says a lot of his friends lived on the street, and that it was the site of “one of the main party houses in Queenstown”.

But resident Renee Raymond, who’s lived on Thompson St for two-and-a-half years, says it’s not that bad.

She’s had to call noise control “a couple of times”, but says a nearby Airbnb is the only noisy house.

“There used to be a couple of party houses, about a year or so ago.”

Airbnb’s ‘responsible hosting’ guidelines recommend hosts remind guests about keeping noise down.

“You may want to consider whether you allow babies, pets, or parties. Develop a policy about guests inviting other people over, and ensure your guests are clear about your ‘party policy’.”

Council comms spokeswoman Rebecca Pitts says the council doesn’t have specific noise control officers, but it offers a 24/7 response.

“If we find people are creating excessive noise, we’ll issue a verbal or written notice (this notice is valid for 72 hours) to reduce the noise to a reasonable level.”

Those who don’t shush may have items such as stereos seized, or find themselves on the receiving end of an infringement notice.

“We don’t have any further comment apart from to remind people to be respectful of their neighbours.”

According to the council website, excessive noise is any noise that’s “under human control and loud enough to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of anyone living here”.

Hallenstein St, with 20 complaints, and Wynyard Crescent, with 17, round out the top five noisy neighbourhoods this year.

Bedford St, with five complaints this year, was Arrowtown’s noisiest.

The council figures also reveal a few Christmas Grinches, with 17 noise complaints made in Queenstown on Christmas Day 2017.

Most of those complaints relate to properties in Frankton.

The stats do appear to show no noise complaints recorded in the district from December 27 to January 2, arguably one of the resort’s busiest periods.

Pitts says that seems “unusual” and the council’s investigating.