Thursday, May 7, 2009

Be a Good Neighbor

A few weeks ago Alton Towers changed the wheels on Nemesis, their B&M inverted coaster. The local district council was soon flooded with complaints from nearby residents that the rumbling noises from the coaster made their lives “unbearable.”

Unbearable? I’m not so sure about that. I would love to get a better measure on their misery as it's possible that the local residents need a lesson on what unbearable living conditions really are. Last time I checked the park wasn’t running their coasters at two in the morning. What are these people hearing? This story seems to surface from this park every year, more than likely from the same residents. Who is to say the flood of complaints isn’t from the same people calling over and over and over again? Perhaps 90% of the community doesn't care or didn't even notice. We’ll probably never know for sure.

I’ve never really understood noise complaints about amusement parks like this. It’s not like these places go up over night. Most parks are older than the developments that are built around them. The neighbors knew what they were getting into when they moved into the neighborhood. However, being the first one there doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want with no regard for those around you. I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask all parks to operate as quiet as possible, as long as it doesn't negatively affect business. The park has to try to be a good neighbor the same way any one of us does. Alton Towers to date has done a tremendous job as they don’t build any rides higher than the tree line for that very reason.

These noise complaint issues need to be looked at case-by-case. As amusement park enthusiasts, we should not automatically sympathize with the park. In this particular case, the park made a major, noticeable change that turned into a big issue for some people. The park had already shown that they could operate the ride with less volume and cause less of a disturbance. The park is in the wrong and that's why they're fixing the situation by changing the wheels back. A problem was identified and it is being addressed by the park in a responsible manner. That is the definition of being a good neighbor.

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