Ruapuna din 'harms mental health'
Loud noises from Ruapuna raceway could be causing mental health problems for nearby residents, a new clinical opinion suggests.
A clinical adviser from the Canterbury District Health Board has sent a letter to Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore, which said noise from the raceway had caused "significant deterioration in mood, depressive symptoms and ... high levels of stress" to those affected by the noise.
Several residents living close to Ruapuna had been referred by general practitioners to specialists after suffering problems related to "constant and excessive noise", the letter said.
The letter described residents forced to wear earmuffs, getting extra insulation, putting on loud music or leaving their houses to avoid the noise.
One family referred to the clinical adviser said the problem had started only two years ago when Ruapuna was given the go-ahead to operate 364 days per year, three times more than the previous limit of 120 days.
The letter's author, who did not wish to be named, urged the council to review decisions and asked that further consideration be given to the "impact of these decisions on the mental health of the residents".
"There is an issue for the physical and mental health of the community that needs to be addressed," the letter said.
Residents close to Ruapuna yesterday told The Press the noise from the raceway was "brutal, intrusive, and unnecessary".
One member of the residents' group Quieter Please, who did not want to be named, said this weekend's New Zealand Motorsport Summer Series would be a nightmare.
"Residents are dreading this weekend. It is not just two days of racing, there is two days of practice and a speedway event on Saturday night.
"Staying inside certainly doesn't stop it," she said.
Christchurch City Councillor Bob Shearing said the raceway operators could not be restricted.
"The operators are meeting all the standards required of them."
Shearing felt the standards were acceptable and said nothing could be done to change the raceway unless someone "goes through the process of changing the standards".
Mike Steere . Christchurch Press . November 21st 2006