Noise complaint dismissed for Harbord Diggers’ Watermark Freshwater residents who paid over $2.6M for apartments

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It promised ocean views in luxurious apartments only for over 55s, overlooking Freshwater and Curl Curl beaches, 18km northeast of Sydney’s CBD. Stage 1 apartments sold from $1.1 million with Stage 2 prices starting at $2.6 million. Three-bedroom units cost $3.8 million and there is a waiting list.

However, Watermark Freshwater retirement village was part of the $160 million redevelopment of the Harbord Diggers Club, which is owned by Mounties Group.

For two years residents and the club have been at loggerheads over the noise created by club patrons, with 15 residents complaining about the club to Liquor and Gaming NSW.

The angry residents said the noise emanating from outdoor areas and a beer garden could be heard from units on most days, with the noise typically worse on Fridays and weekends as crowds of up to 200 filled the outdoor area.

The 15 residents added the noise could be heard from inside their units, even with doors closed, and added the beer garden opened after a majority of residents moved into their units. The sound of noisy children was among their chief grievances.

Harbord Diggers garden area with the Watermark Freshwater apartments above.

Liquor and Gaming NSW inspected the venue as part of its investigation and found noise in the outdoor area consisted of live music and patrons. There was general chatter, laughter and noise from children. It also measured the impact of the noise from the neighbouring units and found noise levels to be “low to moderate”.

Harbord Diggers provided its own noise level recordings which were lower than those measures by residents, and pointed out marketing brochures for the retirement complex were advertised with outdoor club dining and prospective buyers made aware of the features by sales agents prior to 2018. It also has undertaken numerous steps to try to appease the angry residents.

“While it appears a resolution has not been achieved, it is evident the venue has taken this complaint seriously and implemented a significant number of measures to manage noise from the venue, particularly the outdoor area,” said Liquor & Gaming NSW regulatory interventions manager John Coady in his decision to take no action on Friday.

“I strongly recommend the venue and complainant continue to work collaboratively to address any instances of disturbance or other matters as they arise.”