Byron Shire Council (BSC) resolved yesterday to proceed with the proposed Byron LEP major events clause, limiting the number of major music events in the shire (with more than 6,000 attendees) to two per year.
Council’s planning committee decided to press ahead with the policy despite admitting that the recent approval of three annual events at North Byron Parklands essentially makes it ineffectual.
‘The LEP amendment will work for applications that come before us to assess,’ deputy mayor Basil Cameron told ABC radio this morning. ‘Those that are considered by the state – we don’t determine them and the LEP won’t be used to determine them. So they’ll just exist side by side.’
Cr Cameron said yesterday that the decision was based on ‘finding a balance for the community’.
‘Today’s decision was about acknowledging the ability of the community to host large-scale events on a regular basis.
‘Byron Shire is a small area with an infrastructure base that is already stretched, and a highly valued biodiversity. We also need to protect the local amenity for residents.’
He also took a swipe at Bluesfest promoter Peter Noble, who has been running a campaign against the policy. Mr Noble has indicated that a number of events he would like to bring to his Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm site, such as an Indigenous arts festival and a one-off Elton John concert, would be prevented under the policy.
Cr Cameron said BSC had not received an application for Elton John or any other performer.
‘There have been many “possible” suggestions but not one development application submitted to Council for consideration,’ he said.
Mr Noble has previously said there would be little point in going to the expense of submitting a DA for an event that he knew under the policy would not be approved.
BSC says it received more than 10,000 submissions on the policy but claims 9,800 were either template-style emails or petitions. There were 134 individual submissions received, 42 (31 per cent) in favour of the clause and 92 (69 per cent) in opposition.
The draft clause will now be sent to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DOPI) for consideration.