Narelle Smith with the dead pelican.
Narelle Smith with the dead pelican.

Woman tells of noise nightmare

By ADRIAN MILLER

LIFE for Narelle Smith at the moment is torture.

Suffering from a life-threatening illness, she has to cope with a constant and repetitive bang, similar to a gun going off, near her house.

Mrs Smith, who lives at The Whiteman estate, near Rogan Bridge, said she could not stand the constant firing of a gas gun, which is being used to scare birds from a nearby fish farm.

It's not just the noise posing problems for Mrs Smith, who was a member of Clarence Valley WIRES for six years before retiring due to her illness.

She said a number of protected birds had turned up dead in a nearby pond.

One such bird, a pelican, had to be euthanased last Thursday night after allegedly being shot.

Mrs Smith, who was in tears when she spoke to The Daily Examiner, said the gas gun fired regularly.

"This is not a new thing, it's been going on for ages," she said.

Mrs Smith said the noise was destroying her life.

"I moved out here on doctors' orders because of an illness, and I need the peace and quiet because doctors have said 'you have no idea what stress does to your illness'," she said.

"I come home and all I want to do is sleep, but I can't because this thing is going on and on."

Sunnybrook Fish Farm manager Nick Lambert said the company had every right to use the gun.

"We're not breaking any laws by using the gas gun, and we're not doing it to aggravate or irritate neighbours but ... this is a commercial farm and we have to protect our livestock," he said.

Mr Lambert said if anyone who lived in the area had a problem, he urged them to contact the farm.

"If people have any concerns they can phone us and let us know," he said.

"We're quite happy to take up anyone's concerns, we've never dodged any issues, but we don't want to get into a di- alogue through the media."

nMEANWHILE, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) North Coast regional manager Alan Jeffery said NPWS was concerned about the number of dead birds being found in the area.

"We have information that, particularly over the last two to three years, there's been sea eagles, wedged-tail eagles and pelicans apparently shot," he said.

"That activity is illegal, because all those species are protected."

Another resident of the estate said the noise wrecked the peaceful surrounds.

"It's fairly annoying because when you move out of town you expect quiet surrounds and I don't think it's (the gas gun) necessary," they said.

"Quite a few residents around here have attempted to have action taken, and to this point we haven't been successful, but we're not giving up."

A spokesman for Clarence Valley Council said the former Nymboida Shire Council dealt with the same issue in 1997, and the matter would be investigated.

"We'll have a look at the nature of the noise, where the person lives and how it's af- fecting them," he said.



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