Bunnings Warehouse Port Macquarie has lodged a development application to demolish the existing noise wall adjacent to the Oxley Highway.
The 4.25 metre high sound abatement wall was constructed along the Oxley Highway boundary extending for some 640 metres, according to the DA lodged with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
Bunnings state operations manager Robyn Hudson said the business considers itself as part of the community.
"We are open to hearing any concerns residents may have about our recent development application submitted to council," she said.
"We will continue to work with council to deliver the most appropriate solution for the area."
But the proposal has been branded "arrogant" by one resident of the neighbouring Sienna Grange Retirement Community.
Brian Reynolds says Bunnings' sole intention is to expose its branding to highway traffic.
"They've already built the advertising tower at the rear of the complex," he said.
"So they must be confident about having this noise wall demolished.
"I think it is arrogant to suggest this will be an improvement to the entrance of Port Macquarie."
The proposal would see the demolition of the existing noise wall from John Oxley Drive and along the highway to the end of the Bunnings boundary and to refresh and renew the current landscaping.
The area would then be re-landscaped using established landscaping augmented to restore the area as a continuous landscape edge to the highway.
The work is estimated to cost some $225,000.
In April 2018 Bunnings obtained development consent to construct its new warehouse on the site. The new warehouse opened on March 4.
The DA notes that Bunnings has invested over $50m into development of its new store providing substantial additional employment opportunities.
Bunnings says it is seeking council and RMS support to remove the noise wall on the Oxley Highway boundary 'to provide an improved street exposure to its development'.
"No change is proposed to the extents of approved signage on the relevant elevations of the approved Bunnings Warehouse," the DA says.
"However, it is acknowledged that the proposal will have the effect of enhancing the visibility of the approved signs."
However, it is acknowledged that the proposal will have the effect of enhancing the visibility of the approved signs.Bunnings DA
Bunnings engaged AECOM in late 2018 to review the proposal from an acoustic impact perspective.
In the DA AECOM report says: It was found that noise levels decreased or remained the same at most receivers. Where noise levels were predicted to increase the maximum increase was 0.4 dB during the daytime and 0.3 dB during the night.
Mr Reynolds, who has lived in the Sienna Grange complex for five years, says the noise abatement wall was put in place for a reason.
"We get significant road traffic noise now but have learnt to live with it," he said. "We have no complaints about that.
"If they take down that wall to the extent that want too, it will increase traffic noise.
"This is simply about gaining exposure for their brand to the highway.
"If this wall is removed it certainly sets a precedent for every similar noise wall constructed along every piece of highway and roadway across the site.
"I can't see how council or the RMS can accept it based on that precedent."
Mr Reynolds also took exception to the modelling used for the DA application.
He says the RMS used a company to undertake a noise survey who found the wall was needed.
"Yet the same company was commissioned by Bunnings and now they are saying the wall is not needed, due to their modelling.
But modelling is just using a series of variables and then deciding what the possible outcomes are.Brian Reynolds
"But modelling is just using a series of variables and then deciding what the possible outcomes are.
"It's a bit like weather forecasting," he said.
Another resident, Fran Varga, has lived in the complex for six years.
She believes the noise from the highway has increased since the Bunnings building was constructed.
"I am not a noise specialist but it appears as though the (highway traffic) noise is bouncing off the Bunnings building," she said.
"We always knew the highway was there, we knew the development was going to happen but the removal of that noise wall will be the final straw.
"There is a smaller 3 metre timber fence between Bunnings and Sienna Grange that is supposed to stop the noise too."
Mr Reynolds has written to minister for roads Melinda Pavey, Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams, Country Labor candidate Peter Alley, mayor Peta Pinson and all councillors.
The Port News asked Sienna Grange management group Australian Unity for comment.
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