Wade Bennett has had enough of the noise from Coles in Noosa Fair.
Wade Bennett has had enough of the noise from Coles in Noosa Fair. John McCutcheon

Coles defends noisy supermarket

UPDATE: COLES Supermarkets has now responded to complaints by a neighbour that its Noosa Heads store is running its garbage compactor and receiving deliveries at unreasonable hours.

 A Coles spokesman said Coles worked closely with local councils to ensure it complied with all local environmental regulations including noise control.

"We are in contact with the local council to arrange noise testing to confirm we are within acceptable limits and if required will make any necessary changes," the spokesman said.


INITIAL REPORT: A CHAMPION Australian athlete made disabled by an horrific competition accident is now battling to sleep at night because of the noise coming from trucks and a compactor servicing a major supermarket.

Wade Bennett is at his wits' end because of the noise which he says makes it impossible for him to sleep before midnight and which resumes on the edge of dawn with the arrival of refrigerated delivery trucks waiting for gates to open at 7am.

His concerns are shared by Marilyn Kerr, whose adult daughter has struggled for sleep since also buying an apartment in Wyandra St, Noosa Heads.

Ms Kerr said her daughter, Jessica Tunbridge, had bought an apartment in the street after being forced out of the navy with 60% physical and mental impairment.

They were unaware when purchasing the apartment of the noise issues affecting the street.

The Kerrs have spent $8500 on double glazing to no effect.

Ms Kerr said her daughter was woken around 6am every day by the noise of delivery vehicles.

She is not satisfied with advice from Coles Customer Care that its Noosa Junction store was now working with the council and maintenance team to organise sound testing.

Noosa Council waste and environmental health manager, Wayne Schafer, said the council's  environmental health coordinator had been investigating the complaint and had made contact with both Coles and the complainant.

"The compactor crushes cardboard boxes," Mr Shafer said.

"Coles is experiencing a peak period over the festive season and cannot leave cardboard boxes in piles because they create a fire hazard.

"Every effort is being made to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all parties."*

Ms Kerr has demanded independent testing by experienced noise regulators from the Environmental Protection Agency.

She has claimed that previous testing was done after Coles had been advised leading to noise sources been shut down in advance.

"We are long past the stage of being fobbed off with fake sound testing," Ms Kerr said.

"We need appropriate certified testers who are independent from Coles and will tell the truth."

In an email to Ms Kerr, Coles said its property team was working with the store to "prevent these issues from occurring in the future".

Former champion speed water skier Wade Bennett was literally nearly torn in half when he fell at 180kmh in an horrific race accident in 1995.

It put paid to a first-class career that garnered him four national and 27 state titles and 500 wins.

Remarkably he returned to racing in 1998, winning the disabled class of the Southern 80 at Echuca on the Murray River maintaining a 135kmh average speed and breaking the class record by 40 seconds.

Wade's courageous return from injuries saw him named to take part in the torch relay at Noosa for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and then enter the stadium for the opening ceremony carrying the Australian placard ahead of the flag bearer.

Twenty years on he remains dogged by the consequences of the terrible accident that left him in a coma for 17 days and did horrific damage to internal organs.

He says in the past three years he has struggled to get any more than five or six hours sleep a night, unable to nod off until the long, whining noise of a compactor finally eased off after midnight before being woken by delivery trucks.

"The trucks are supposed to be there at 7am but they come earlier and sit under our units with the engine running," Wade said.

"I don't like being the guy who whinges on the phone every night. At some point someone will say 'I can fix it'."

But to date he says he has had little support from the Noosa Council and no respite from the supermarket giant.

"They have no respect for us. The council told me they could go until 10pm. It was 7pm previously."

Coles failed to respond to questions put by the Sunshine Coast Daily.

However in an emailed response to a complaint made by Ms Kerr, James Gostelow of Coles Customer Care wrote:

"Thank you for your email regarding the Noosa Store. We do apologise for the delay in response and we were concerned to hear of your experience.

"Upon receipt of your correspondence, we were in contact with our Store Operations Team. They have advised that they are currently working with the local Council and maintenance Team to organise sound testing. Further to this, our property team are working with the store to prevent these issues from occurring in the future.

"Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We hope this information has been helpful and we look forward to your future custom at Coles."

Noosa Council officer Geoff Atherford met Coles officials on-site on December 23 and in correspondence with the complainants said a 10pm curfew for the compactor had been set until a resolution could be found.

If such a curfew is in place, Mr Bennett said it was one that has been repeatedly breached through the Christmas break.

* This statement was added as an update after the initial publication of the story.

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