Wall of sound raised for waterfront apartment plan

By Chris Thomson | posted on July 19, 2018

THE spectre of a sound-attenuating wall along Princess Royal Drive has been raised in the face of a 26-page objection from Southern Ports to apartments planned for harbour-front land owned by Albany business identity Paul Lionetti.

As previously revealed, farming and transport groups have vehemently opposed conversion into apartments of hotel rooms proposed for a plot owned by Mr Lionetti across Toll Place from his Due South tavern (‘Port users slam apartments plan’, July 5).

Now, The Weekender has seen a 26-page objection from recently resigned Southern Ports CEO Nicolas Fertin.

The objection says “incremental” modifications to a plan for the hotel in response to “concerns over commercial viability” may see a mixed-use building emerge “with insufficient protection for the port’s freight transport corridors”.

“Permanent residential land users will be subject to freight road and freight rail noise associated with the road and rail corridor servicing the port, the future ring road, the rail marshalling yards and noise generated by the operation of the port,” Mr Fertin argues.

“Detailed consideration has not been given to the use of building materials, appropriate distribution of land uses across the site and the orientation of balconies
to mitigate and reduce the impact of noise on residents/guests within the development.

“History shows that uncertainty of port access is a factor that drives investment decisions away from a port and its region.”

Despite the pointed objection, Henry Dykstra of Harley Dykstra Planning told a City of Albany committee last week that Southern Ports “seems to be opening up to the idea of residential” provided the port is “protected” from complaints by future residents.

Mr Dykstra was acting for landholder Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd, and his assertion was echoed by chief City planner Paul Camins.

“They seem they might be supporting permanent residential if the noise is at that level,” Mr Camins said of moves to limit noise inside any future apartments to 55 decibels.

This week, a Southern Ports spokesperson said the organisation met with Harley Dykstra to brief the planning firm on its objection before it was lodged with the City.

At last week’s committee meeting, Mr Dykstra and Mayor Dennis Wellington opposed a recommendation from Mr Camins that a noise attenuation package be
developed prior to the project’s detailed design phase.

“Under no circumstances do we want a wall around this development to attenuate noise,” Mr Wellington said.

Councillor Robert Sutton agreed with Mr Dykstra and the mayor.

“If the proponent came in with a noise wall, it would be knocked back,” he predicted.

But Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks had his doubts, saying early signoff to an anti-noise package was essential.

“I think it’s very important that we send a message early,” he said before saying Harley Dykstra should “guarantee” a “sound wall” would not be entertained.

Buffering options preferred by Mr Camins include triple glazing and noise-reducing building and unit design.

Mr Fertin’s objection argued the 6800sqm of apartments being sought equated to 40 per cent of the project’s floor area and would erode the “primary tourism and
entertainment intent of the waterfront precinct”.

Mr Camins’ recommendation was endorsed nine votes to one, with Mr Wellington the sole opponent.

Cr Paul Terry abstained from voting because one of his sons works for a company associated with the project.

The endorsed recommendation is slated for final debate at a Council meeting on Tuesday.