At last the DP&E has decided to act against the noise pollution being pumped out of North Byron Parklands by the Splendour in the Grass and the Falls music festivals. The $3,000 fine imposed for noise breaches may appear paltry; however, it indicates two things. Firstly, the music is far too loud and is not being controlled at source, and secondly, self-compliance by the developers doesn’t work.
After losing in the Land and Environment Court (Conos V Byron Shire Council), the proponents hurriedly pushed the development to Part 3a determination and gained subsequent PAC approval and consent that now doesn’t suit their purposes for the trial period of five years up to 2017. It is hoped that the DP&E will not be forced to alter the consent conditions to facilitate more noise-making that intrudes on our communities’ rights to pre-existing peace and quiet. All indications are that this well-connected ‘festival lobby’ will try to force the department to roll over and let them intrude further on our lives.
The community has worked tirelessly with the North Byron Parklands Regulatory Working Group to identify areas where there are problems caused by excessive noise, traffic and telecommunications breakdown caused during festival operations. Excessive noise output is Parklands’ achilles heel and will be so until their festival operators do the right thing by the surrounding communities and turn down the music.
It makes no difference that the punters need more noise to enjoy their festivals, or that the largesse offered to local interest groups or the so-called fabulous jobs and economic ‘drivers’ on offer to locals and businesses is given as a good reason to allow this development to affect the amenity of so many residents.
If the human residents can’t stand the noise, imagine how our precious wildlife is coping with the excessive noise and lighting that hurtles out into the sensitive wildlife corridor and Billinudgel Nature Reserve during festival operating periods.
To suggest that lawn mowers and other domestic activity make more noise than festivals is just another ludicrous furphy thrown up to cloud the undeniable issue of state-sanctioned noise pollution by a private commercial operation.
Paul Arrowsmith, president, Middle Pocket and Yelgun Progress Association Inc