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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Government raps Splendour over noise, camping

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Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson
Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson

Chris Dobney

Local residents have again called for Splendour in the Grass to be moved from its North Byron Parklands site after organisers received a $3,000 fine for exceeding noise limits last week and were warned about problems at its campsite.

Splendour received a similar fine last year, and earlier this year NBP offered to adhere to stricter controls on its bass volumes if it could have more flexibility at higher ranges.

At the time, NBP’s GM Mat Morris described the existing noise levels prescribed by the Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) as ‘unworkable’.Aftermath of a trial festival at the North Byron Parklands site. Photo CONOS

Aftermath of a trial festival at the North Byron Parklands site. Photo CONOS

Echonetdaily has sighted a letter to Conservation Of North Ocean Shores Inc (CONOS) in which DoPE’s acting director of compliance, Ben Harrison,  confirms that, as well as the fine, the department also issued a warning letter to festival organisers over breaches of its camping provisions.

But NBP’s Mat Morris says he has yet to see any official correspondence on the issues from the department.

According to the letter, DOPE has requested that by December 18 organisers outline how they will:

  • Prevent a reccurrence of camping outside the project boundary and within 10m of unmanaged bush blocks;
  • Ensure that camping delineation is maintained;
  • Ensure that litter is consistently managed across the site for the duration of the event;
  • Minimise sediment tracking from the site;
  • Reduce the occurrence of illegal camping in the Yelgun Rest Area (in consultation with Byron Shire Council).

Call to move

CONOS president, Bob Oehlman, said its members had reported the breaches, adding the group believed the owners should move the event ‘to an area that is not a bio-hotspot’.

‘We are not opposed to music festivals, we just don’t want to sacrifice a richly unique environment for the festivals,’ Mr Oehlman said.

‘It would make no difference to the music patrons, but it would be a big plus for the 50 threatened species that are resident in the locality, he added.

‘These festivals were approved on a trial basis for five years to see if the owners could meet the conditions of consent imposed by the state government.

‘The reasons that these events are on trial, rather than approved as ongoing, is because the government had serious doubts about whether the site was appropriate given its environmental sensitivity and the sites proximity to rural properties and village areas.

‘A large number of residents have found it necessary to make noise complaints to the festival organisers in order to try and protect the quiet lifestyle that they were accustomed to prior to the imposition of the festivals.

‘Noise complaints have been received up to 10 kilometres away within the Brunswick Valley, which is a relatively small catchment that acts like a large amphitheatre during festivals.

Mr Oehlman said that local residents had complained about their windows rattling due to the loud noise levels and wondered what effect they would have on wildlife in the area.

‘CONOS and supporters are very concerned about the effects of the loud noise on local wildlife including over 50 threatened species that utilize an existing major wildlife corridor and locality that includes the abutting environmentally protect wetlands and Billinudgel Nature Reserve.’

‘Clearly, the events are unsuitable to this naturally very quiet locality. The proof of this is the fact that two noise related fines have been imposed due to excessive noise levels well above the natural noise levels,’ Mr Oehlman said.

North Byron Parklands GM Mat Morris told Echonetdaily that neither it or Splendour organisers had received any official communication over the issues from the department and ‘until that happens it would be premature to comment’.

‘We’ve been advised we will hear from them in the near future,’ he added.

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  1. Gee, $3000, wow that must have really hurt, make it $30,000 and perhaps they will go away, sound levels unworkable, good take it somewhere else, we live out here because we like it peaceful.

  2. $3k is a soft slap on the wrist. Parklands has never consulted the community, but buys locals off with ‘grants’ to local causes with lots of publicity – what I call bribe money.
    The festival was defeated in the Land and Environment Court but the festival organisers stepped over that to get State permission for a trial period.
    Think Parklands cares about the rare and endangered species, the nocturnal wildlife, the birds and animals migrating along the slim wildlife corridor, the rare flora of the Nature Reserve, or the residents who moved there for rural quiet ? Nuh!


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