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May 12, 2021

Festivals can continue at North Byron Parklands: Report

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The company behind Splendour in the Grass wants to increase the number of patrons at festival to 50,000. (supplied)
The company behind Splendour in the Grass wants to increase the number of patrons at festival to 50,000. (supplied)

The company behind Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Music and Arts Festival wants the right to hold events of up to 50,000 people at the North Byron Parklands site on a permanent basis.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is now waiting on the applicant’s environmental impact statement for the proposal, which would then be exhibited for public comment.

The application coincides with an assessment report from the Department which says the company will be allowed to continue its gigs at the site for another 20 months.

The assessment report has been sent to the independent Planning Assessment Commission for a final decision, which considers that the trial period for outdoor events of up to 35,000 patrons can be extended to August 2019.

The Department’s acting director for key sites and industry assessments  Mike Young said the festivals are popular sell out events that are attended by locals and people from all over Australia.

‘We received more than 600 submissions from the public, government agencies and community groups when the modification was on exhibition. More than 80 per cent of submissions were in support of the proposal,’ Mr Young said.

Music festivals have been held at the site for the last four years as part of a trial period granted by the Planning Assessment Commission in 2012. Since the trial began, Billinudgel Property, has been working to improve its environmental management and minimise impacts to the local community.

‘There are a number of conditions imposed under the approval to minimise impacts.  This includes strict noise limits during events and measures to ensure traffic impacts are minimised. The Department’s compliance officers have also attended a number of events, including the recent Splendour in the Grass, to monitor compliance on the site.’

The events held at the site provide economic, social and environmental benefits to the broader area.

An economic study for Falls Festival 2014/15 and Splendour in the Grass 2015 found that these two events contributed more than $100 million, created nearly 200 full-time jobs and took up 28,995 room nights in accommodation within the Byron local government area and 7,721 room nights in other areas of Northern NSW over a period of eight days.

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  1. Thanks for some common sense on this one. However the trail period should be terminated and full planning permission granted! You can’t argue with those numbers and the benefit to the shire as a whole.
    When is the the council or the planning department going to look at The Writers Festival (another great event for the Byron shire), at 9.40am this morning 4th august traffic was backed up on the highway all the way to Kennedy’s Lane. The traffic congestion in all directions is obscene. Please can the powers that be dictate mandatory Park and Ride for this event, say drop off points at The Cavanbah Centre, The Blues Fest site, Red Devil’s Oval, Byron Transit Centre and the Bungalow Show grounds! With no or limited (disabled or expensive parking on site) this idea would be fully funded and relieve the horrendous congestion over the event period.

  2. Splendour’s environmental impact is atrocious. They have no regard for the local community or the local environment and are all about the bottom line. It will be a sad day if the North Byron Parklands tender is approved in the long-term.

  3. And we all enjoy the Splendour flu. the heavy police hand, and drunk kids, along with gnarly traffic problems
    ..as if! Such fun, eh?

  4. Hm arithmetic, Splendour

    i.e byron shire accommodated 28k people over 8 days is 3,500 people per day due to Splendour,

    Lucky that any non splendour person wasnt looking to holiday/stay as it would be difficult to find a place to stay,

    200 (unidentified) full time jobs arising from the 100 million into the local economy thats 500,000 per job.

    Anyway the real problem for splendour and its patrons is rain. The topography of the North Parklands site makes it extremely vulnerable to wet weather events, Luck has for some reason has allowed Splendour not to have been held during a heavy rain event.

    Even a small amount of rain as happened a few years ago turned the festival into Splendour in the Mud,

    A heavy rain event turns the whole site into a virtual lake, with the mud and lack of evacuation points or a proper emergency safety plan is a disaster waiting to happen. This proposal to go 50k patrons and more events increases the risk. If a big rain falls then people will get seriously injured with possible deaths.

    Splendour’s record once the gloss is peeled away dealing with emergencies is plain to see following the recent disaster at a Splendour event in Lorne Victoria.

    Maybe Echo Net should investigate this and check out for themselves the truth of my comment.

    I mean blind freedie can see that the site is an amphitheatre blocked on one side by a ridgeline bordering wetlands, Oh yes Arithmetic, try working out how long would it take for 50000 people to evacuate the site marched 8 abreast as was being proposed by Splendour in case of an emergency (non flood)

  5. It’s not even in Byron Bay, more like tweed shire. No train service, no regular bus service, no major emergency services. It’s a real concern how they are able to hold a major event without any capable infrastructure to support the volumes. As for accomodation bookings. A family of four came to visit our family over the splendour period and stayed in town. They were not surveyed as to why they were here, and they certainly didn’t go to splendour. As for the 100 million dollars…..pfffft. Pump 50 million into fixing our shire then I’ll applaud splendour. Take Splendour to Brisbane or Sydney and see how long it last. Byron is the drawcard not necessarily the acts.

  6. Another 15,000 people and that also means probably another 10,000 cars in traffic on the roads OUTSIDE and separate from the event. To repair roads and highways these days isn’t it some millions of dollars per kilometre in repair costs.

    • Provided the roads are not allowed to deteriorate modern cars will not inflict serious damage on the roads. Movements of ten of thousands of cars occur in our region every morning and afternoon. The cars at festivals do generate congestion which is why you should encourage people to use the buses – generally best done by charging parking fees, and ensuring the buses have priority as they come and go (these approaches work well in other comparably sized sporting and music events).

  7. I’d be interested in how much income tax is paid to the Australian Government on this massive income! Oh that’s right, Splendour in the Grass is now owed by an off shore concern and no tax is collected! Is that right? Also why can’t Splendour be held at the Bluesfest site where the wildlife has already been trashed?

    • Overseas companies are required to pay company tax on profits earned in Australia, and their employees or contractors pay income tax or company tax. The tax dodging occurs when they structure arrangements so the Australian operation appears not to be profitable because exaggerated fees for “management” or intellectual property or for borrowing costs are paid to an off-shore entity in a low company tax environment for “management” or intellectual property fees. I have no evidence that Splendour is indeed doing that.

  8. Be aware, money and the arseholes who use it to buy influence with amoral politicians will generally defeat society and the environment. This is unlikely to change while deluded cheerleaders like some above continue to mindlessly support these carpetbaggers and rail against their own interests.
    Each ‘even-handed’ planning decision destroys a little more of our life-support systems and we are now in deep trouble, possibly beyond the tipping point of long-term survival as a species.
    This does not seem to trouble the money spivs and their lackeys as they do not think the rules of nature apply to them,
    Watch this latest escalation get approval in the face of the facts and wait for the WB decision to defy reason and reality.


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