Walt Disney

Disney show could break noise limit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 12:00am

Residents are told not to worry about the sound levels from two family nights at the Hong Kong Stadium

Organisers of an open-air Disney event at the Hong Kong Stadium yesterday promised to monitor sound levels, after a number of complaints were received from people living nearby when a charity concert was held there last month.

But an acoustics specialist warned that the levels at the 'Disney Family Movie Night - A Celebration of Life' show could still exceed official standards.

Li Kai-ming, chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics and an associate professor at Polytechnic University's department of mechanical engineering, said the open-air show would undoubtedly produce sounds exceeding the 65 decibels laid down by the Environmental Protection Department. He said Hong Kong Stadium was situated in a valley where sound waves were highly concentrated.

'It could be less irritating than a concert or a soccer match,' Dr Li said. 'But we still have to see how they place the amplifiers and the movie screen.'

He said some complaints could be expected, but he urged residents to show tolerance for what was a charity event 'with a good cause'.

'If it is purely a commercial event, I would say there are no grounds for exceeding the standard sound level,' Dr Li said. The outdoor event, part of the government's 'Relaunch Hong Kong' campaign, was announced yesterday at a press conference held in the stadium's restaurant.

The show will entertain around 15,000 guests on the nights of July 5 and 6. It consists of a stage show in English featuring Disney characters. It will be followed by the movie Lion King in Cantonese.

Hong Kong Stadium manager Wong Yuen-lee said they would have three monitoring stations and a complaints hotline would also be set up. 'If any residents lodge complaints, we will lower the sound level slightly,' she said. 'We will also send notification letters to residents in advance.'

Irene Chan, regional director of Walt Disney's Asia Pacific corporate communications, said they had a responsibility to monitor sound levels. She was confident residents would not have any grievances because the 40,000-seat stadium would only be half-filled and sound levels would be lower than that for a concert.

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department could not give an immediate reply on whether the charity concert, organised by the government and Walt Disney, would be given discretion to exceed sound levels.

In May, the department gave the go ahead for the '1:99 concert' organised by the Performing Artists' Guild. The sound level exceeded the limits by 10 to 20 decibels. The explanation was that the concert was for a good cause - raising money for the children of Sars victims.

The department received 18 complaints, and a number of people also called the police.

The billion-dollar stadium in Causeway Bay has been hampered by strict noise pollution regulations imposed since it opened in 1994.

According to the department's guidelines, the increase in noise should not be more than 10 decibels above normal background noise - 55 decibels for the area.