Suburbs raise red flag over noise pollution

03 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Suburbs raise red flag over noise pollution Churches using Oriel Boys’ High School premises for services accused of noise pollution.


Suburban Reporter

Chisipite and Highlands residents are under siege from noisy nightclubs, events venues and churches leaving them with no respite as city by-laws on noise pollution in Harare are hardly enforced turning residential areas into a cacophony of loud music and prayer sessions.

Last weekend, residents registered their displeasure on online platforms at the noise coming from Chisipite Shopping Centre describing the noise emanating from extremely loud music as horrendous. Residents said they suspected the noise pollution was coming either a club called Karma or Oriel Boys High School who rent out their hall to churches that conduct church services using public address systems or also play live music during their services.

Residents were also told that there is a venue along Bay Noakes Road in Chisipite where the operators host functions every Saturday. One resident said they had been fighting this particular venue through the relevant channels for 18 months. The resident said there was also another noisy place, a private house, in the direction of Oriel Boys High School.

Residents encouraged each other to drive in the direction of the noise and establish exactly who were the culprits disturbing their peace and rest.

The residents described Chisipite as fast becoming the worst nightmare to live in for several reasons including the noisy venues, clubs and churches. Property owners wondered why the City of Harare puts in place by-laws it never enforces but others pointed out that the people who own these establishments were above the law and even if you try to make a case against them, you will end up on the losing side.

Residents agreed that that was sadly the reality as the club and venue owners were making money out of citizens’ misery.

Wishing each other good luck in the fight for their rights, the residents said they are being sent from pillar to post with no results or action.

Scout Hall on Sloane Street in Highlands was also flagged as one of the noisy places with loud music blurring right into residents’ houses.

The Scout Hall noise was said to be also a result of church services and suggestions were made to approach the church in question and find out how their sound can be managed.

However, some residents felt it was not easy to approach certain church people because they can be arrogant and accuse those confronting them of being possessed by demons and stopping them from spreading the word of God. But arguments were made that the churches could spread the word of God more quietly and should not be in the midst of residences because sound travels within a radius and affects large numbers of households.

It was also pointed out that perhaps the noisy churches should be taken out of residences because some churches have been operating in residences for years but they were calm and do not disturb the peace in the neighbourhoods they are based. Others suggested that the churches that play loud music and use PA systems for their services should sound proof their buildings.

Residents said churches established decades ago are more respectable than the Pentecostal churches drawing the example of one High Court judge who insisted that for one to establish a church they must be highly qualified in theology.

The discussion also heard that some of the churches were conducting open air services and could not sound proof.

Oriel Boys’ High School was said to be hiring out its hall or premises to the AFM Church with residents saying the church members were congregating at the school although they were not sure about the precise days they congregate.

Another resident said their whole house shakes due to the vibrations from the loud music citing Highlander housed in Highlands Sports Club on Grosvenor Road as another place having noisy events but not as bad as the other venues.

The Highlander management wrote to residents this week informing them about events it will be hosting this weekend on Thursday and Friday.

“We would like to advise all you our valued Highlands residents, club members and patrons of Highlander of the upcoming event being held at the club on Thursday 2 May and Friday 3 May 2024. The event is Rock of Ages, featuring Josh Ainsley and hosted by The Harare Round Table 23 as a fundraiser for the variety of causes by Round Table 23.

“The show will be starting at 7pm and run through until 9pm. We ask that you bear with us during this time or encourage you to join us for what promises to be a great show. As the club and Highlander we are proud to support these causes where we can for the greater benefit of our community,” read the letter co-authored by Mark Preston, Highlands Sports Club manager and Highlander’s Scott Fraser.

Residents said there is need for a suburban code of conduct and etiquette orientation given to these venues and clubs to educate their patrons and clients. The discussion noted that Sunday mornings should be respected and maintain peace and tranquillity. But residents said the major drawback was the densification of low-density suburbs that comes with a lot of construction and borehole drilling adding to the chaos now common in Harare.

The opening up of the low-density suburbs is resulting in the development of businesses and services that target these new housing schemes and more will be mushrooming.

Residents wondered why event and music concert hosts as well as churches were not making use of places such as 7 Arts, the Harare International Conference Centre at Rainbow Towers and empty complexes in the industrial sites to host their events. Some residents pointed out that some of the events are fundraising initiatives for charity but others insisted the events should not disturb their peace and rest even though they were for a worthy cause.

Residents also said they were noticing an increase in loitering at Highland Park Mall with loiterers who will neither be shopping or patrons of any businesses there but just groups of people busy on their phones and milling around looking for “opportunities”.

The same scenario was said to be happening at Sam Levy’s Village although some of the people will be just there to withdraw cash from the banks.


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