Seems no-one wants to know!
Last week I submitted a letter with photo detailing how the camping areas at the recent Splendour festival posed a serious danger to their patrons.
The response was a short dismissal in an article on the basis of a council assurance there was a bushfire evacuation plan, nothing to do with my concerns.
The camp areas were severely overcrowded with no discernible layout pattern and surrounded by a high fence with limited exits. I spoke to a number of campers and none were aware of any evacuation plan.
Any fire, gas explosion or other violent event at night, with many campers affected by alcohol or other drugs, would have caused an extremely dangerous situation as people struggled to get away in the dark.
I asked the mayor, who attended the event (hopefully at his own expense), if he was happy with the council’s approval of these areas.
He mentioned the bushfire plan and expressed confidence that the staff had done their job, but rather undermined this assurance with the comment, ‘it was much worse last year when they couldn’t even get the fire trucks in’.
As a former scientifically-trained army logistics officer (experienced in field layouts) and a qualified health surveyor, I know what I am talking about.
If the mayor and GM are happy that council has adequately performed to their duty of care in this matter let them say so, and if they think they have, then go away and revise their protocols before someone gets killed.
If anyone is contacting the council again about this, I suggest you ask:
1. Was there a detailed layout plan of the campsites submitted and can you see them?
2. Were the campsites inspected after occupancy? If so when and how often?
3. What legislation/criteria was used in assessing these layouts?
4. Did the campsites conform to this standard at all times?
5. Was there an evacuation plan covering all contingencies disseminated to campers?
I suspect that these sites were never inspected due to either due to the hazy division of responsibility between the council and the DoP or because someone wasn’t too keen to have it done…
Tom Tabart, Bangalow