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Byron Shire
June 14, 2021

Splendour festival-site plan ‘a major intensification’

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Tweed Shire Council has raised concerns to the state government over noise issues and the hike in patron numbers under a $46 million plan for the permanent use of the North Byron Parklands cultural-events site at Yelgun for events catering up to 50,000 people.

Councillors last night endorsed council staff’s submission to the state planning department, as the development application (DA) for the Splendour in the Grass and other festivals site involves use of Tweed roads surrounding it.

Byron Shire Council has already invited NSW Department of Planning and Environment staff to brief staff and councillors about the DA, classed as a State Significant Development by the government, and which is currently on exhibition for public comment. (See our previous story at https://www.echo.net.au/2018/01/byron-shire-wants-briefing-46m-splendour-plan/)

In Tweed’ submission, council chief planner Vince Connell says the total number of people attending the events is a ‘concern in terms of overall management of the various events and considerations for emergency evacuation etc.’

Mr Connell said the trial events were limited to 35,000 patrons per day for large events but questioned the definition of ‘patron which could mean ‘anyone who holds a ticket to attend an outdoor event’ and as such patron numbers at proposed events will not include other people on site such as performers, volunteers and workers’.

‘Although the SSD [state significant development] does acknowledge additional people for events (i.e. maximum 57,850 people on site for a 50,000 patron event), it is unclear as to whether the assessment and associated management plans/reports have taken into consideration that additional people will be on site and factored these increased figures traffic assessments or flooding/evacuation planning.

‘In addition, it is unclear as to whether free ticket holders have been included into any assessment, given they are technically not purchasing a ticket and therefore not considered as a “patron”, nor are they identified in the SSD as potential “other people” on site for events.’

Noise impacts

On the issue of noise, Mr Connell said the proposed use ‘is a significant intensification when compared to the trial period’, which was ‘complicated by non-compliances, community concerns and ongoing mitigation after monitoring events undertaken during the trial’.

He said event noise monitoring was undertaken during the trial on only three events.

‘Maximum patronage during the trial period was only 32,500. The proposed maximum patronage is 35,000 with future expansion to 42,500 and 50,000 subject to meeting KPIs [key performance indicators].

‘This represents a significant intensification.

‘The noise modelling predicts exceedances at the two closest dwellings.

‘Local agreements between the operators and the land owners may be become an issue if ownership changes’.

Mr Connell said that further mitigation measures have been proposed ‘up and above what was required for the trial period’.

He concluded that ‘approval of the facility will require strict conditioning to ensure the mitigation measures are implemented and ongoing operational monitoring to demonstrate that the proponent achieves the noise criteria’.

‘This will place a significant regulatory burden in the future as the event intensifies.

‘This is demonstrated through the continual community attention the operation has been subject to during the trial period.

‘Based on the level of community concern, noise levels predicted when compared to the adopted noise criteria it is recommended that the department engage a suitably qualified and experienced acoustic consultant to undertake an independent peer review’.

The submission also raised issues over evacuation planning during floods or bushfires, traffic access/congestion and waste management.

For more information go to http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/News/2017/Have-your-say-on-plans-for-North-Byron-Parklands

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