Night noise relief coming for some

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Night noise relief coming for some

Kingston mayor promises to reduce the parties at select venues

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Residents of Hope Pastures, New Kingston, and the communities around Devon House, who have frequently complained about being disturbed by the loud volume from entertainment events at venues in their communities, could soon get some relief.

Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams yesterday announced that he has given instructions to review the number of permits issued for events at venues such as Hope Gardens, the car parks in New Kingston and Devon House, based on the number of complaints received from residents.

But those pushing for a full ban on these venues will be left disappointed as Williams indicated that he is more prepared to reduce the number of events than stopping them all together.

Addressing yesterday's media briefing called by Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang to provide clarity on the looming temporary extension on the time allowed for entertainment events, Williams accepted that people who have been disturbed by the loud noises could be concerned when they hear that promoters will be allowed to go until 2:00 am on weekdays and 4:00 am on weekends.

“I really don't want residents to think that this temporary fix is opening the gateway for disorder,” said Williams.

“We are imploring promoters, and expecting promoters, to act in a responsible way. I have been very clear that if you don't act in a responsible way and understand the environment in which you operate the police will have no choice but to close your event,” added Williams.

The mayor said the Kingston & St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) will be very strict on the number of events it allows at certain venues, especially those venues which are in, or close to, residential communities.

“We still have to [be] cognisant of the fact, and I am very clear on this, that residents must be allowed to enjoy the comfort and the peace of their homes and as much as we have to strike a balance, I think the balance has to come down more on the side of persons enjoying the peace of their homes,” declared Williams as he underscored that the police will be called in instances where residents complain about the noise.

On the issue of Hope Gardens, he said while the KSAMC has reduced the number of commercial entertainment events it allows there, based on the complaints from residents, it has been facilitating requests from corporate entities to stage events such as staff parties and appreciation functions there.

“But I am beginning to understand that those are also proving a challenge for the residents so we won't be approving any more of those for the December period. We are very clear on that,” said Williams.

“In the case of Devon House, we will have to look at the events we approve in the interest of public order,” said Williams, who noted that a hospital is close to the venue and recently he was at the medical facility and could hear the music from an event there.

“For Devon House we will meet with the operators, speak with them and if we can get the sound levels lower so that it does not affect the hospital we will work with it,” added Williams.

In the meantime, Chang argued that the promoters can keep events at these venues without disturbing the neighbours.

He argued that the promoters need to buy the right equipment and hire sound engineers who can advise them how to lay out the equipment so that the sound does not travel outside the venue.


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