Louise Doran, Ocean Shores.
Well the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) has granted a 20-month extension to the trial of the North Byron Parklands (Splendour in the Grass) mega development. What a surprise!
At the PAC’s recent public hearing at Ocean Shores the only submissions presented in support of this development were from ‘festival’ owners/organisers/managers and employees. Without exception, other pro-festival speakers were representatives of sporting and community groups who have benefited financially from donations.
The absence of local residents speaking in support of this mega development clearly shows the lack of support from the local community for these high impact ‘festivals’.
Eighteen local people, including an ecologist, did speak about the negative impacts of these mega events on the wildlife, community and the local music industry. People in the room heard of the massive emissions generated by thousands of people flying and driving huge distances to attend these mega events, and from the amount of equipment that has to be trucked in and out of the site. Obviously the vested interests and profits of mega developers and their employees carry much more weight than the concerns of residents about the impact on wildlife and community amenity.
The impacts of these mega events make a mockery of any attempt to ensure Byron Shire has zero emissions.
Claims that Parklands donate large sums to local organisations need to be put into perspective. Local businesses have always been very generous in their support for local groups and charities, sporting and otherwise. One local hotel owner has been organising monthly fundraising events, which raise thousands of dollars every month to benefit many local groups. They are able to do this without loud noise disturbing residents and wildlife for miles around, without creating traffic chaos, or tonnes of rubbish and carbon emissions. Also, there’s no need for 150 extra police to be brought in, at a massive cost to taxpayers’, to ensure the safety of patrons!
Just as holiday letting is impacting on the community and house prices, these mega ‘festivals’ also have a major impact on affordable housing as thousands of people descend on the shire and home owners cash in on the lucrative AirBnB market. Why would they permanently let their homes for reasonable rents to local workers when they can make so much more short term letting, and demand keeps increasing?
When the downside of these mega events are placed under scrutiny, the benefits claimed are shown to have little substance and seem to be nothing more than pure spin.
It’s been obvious for a very long time that rampant consumerism, mega developments, unfettered growth, and the idea that bigger is better, is unsustainable. The unrestrained market economy only works for the wealthy, and has a huge downside for ordinary people, affordable housing, the environment, and our children’s future. Capitalism has gone berserk and we need a better, fairer system.
Byron Shire people have always understood the need to tread lightly on the planet.