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February 22, 2024

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Having just returned from 48 hours of computer-free time to discover a rather poorly researched article quoting Mat Morris regarding my statements on the proposed festival site at Wooyung, I was wondering if it might be possible to correct a few details.

The photo that I showed during my presentation to the PAC on Feb 1, 2012 is, as has always been stated (in the talk and when the image was provided via email to the ABC), taken from Wooyung Rd looking across towards the proposed camping area. After my presentation, I was made aware that some members of the audience had not heard what I had said and assumed it was taken on the event site. To ensure the PAC panel were under no confusion I addressed them directly during the break and clarified this with them. The reason this image was provided (as I explained very clearly to them) was because the road was more than a metre deep at that point and I could not get closer to the event site (as is seen in the photo on the front page of the Byron Echo on 1 Feb

Since then, neighbours have provided me with images of both the carpark and the camping/event area under water on Jan 25, 2012, Jan 26, 2012 and a closer one from May 2009, all of which I have forwarded directly to the PAC panel to ensure no confusion exists on this issue.

As you can see, flooding is a very real issue for this site and no amount of denial on the part of the proponents will change this. Most of the proposed carpark and event / camping areas are classified as ‘High Hazard Flood Storage’, a small fact that the proponents’ own flooding report failed to divulge until it was challenged by the DP&I but has been subsequently conceded

Regarding Mr Morris’s claim that ‘the organisation would have 48 hours’ notice of any likely inundation’: this would appear to be in direct contrast to the expert statements made in both Flooding Studies (Molino Stewart Pty Ltd and SMEC Australia Pty Ltd) provided for the site, which claim flood warning times vary between four and 10 hours. Earlier studies provided by the proponent advised possible flood warning time for the carpark of as little as 0.5 hours (H Fiander, 2007).

The proponents’ flooding consultant went as far as to say (of the camping area) that considering evacuation times and flood warning times, ‘it is clear that evacuation would need to commence well before a flood-causing rainfall event began if it is expected to get all vehicles and patrons off the site ahead of the floodwaters becoming hazardous’ (p16, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd Flood Risk Management Plan 2011).

As to the question of doofs and raves being possible minor events on the site: as stated in my talk, Wooyung Action Group members were given this information from a site tour operator on an official site visit. Rather than descending into a ‘he said, she said’ which seems pointless as the conversation was not, to my knowledge, recorded, it might be beneficial if the proponent can publicly confirm that doofs and raves will not be hosted on the site as the application provided very few details of the nature of minor events. If this could be publicly confirmed, it would certainly allay a lot of community concerns on this particular issue.

Chris Cherry

Please note, images are: Proposed Camping area on 26th January, 2012; proposed Carpark on January 25th, 2012 around 2pm; and proposed camping area May, 2009.


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