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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Decision pending on festival expansion plan

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A decision on the plan to significantly increase the size of Falls Festival and Splendour in The Grass is expected by the end of February, the Independent Planning Commission says.

In a short statement to Echonetdaily on Thursday, a spokesperson for the commission said it was ‘expected the determination will be finalised towards the end of this month’.

The decision will decide the fate of a proposal by the company which manages the North Byron Parklands festival site to significantly increase operations there.

Under the plan, the maximum number of patrons at Falls and Splendour in the Grass would be increased to 35,000 and 50,000 respectively, and both festivals would be allowed to run for five days.

There would also be three ‘medium event’ days per year, each with up to 25,000 patrons, five ‘small’ (5,000 patron) one-day community events and two ‘minor (1,500 patron) community events.

This would increase the total number of event days at the side from eight to 20.

The applicants are also proposing to build a conference centre on the site which would operate all year round.

The proposal is vociferously opposed by a collection of local residents groups who say it will lead to a dramatic increase in noise and traffic, and swamp surrounding towns such as Brunswick Heads with tourists.

But the company which manages the parklands rejects these claims, saying that all reasonable steps have been taken to limit the impact of the increase in operations on the community.

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  1. ‘Taking all possible steps’? All possible steps would be relocating to a more suitable site and drastically reducing attendee numbers. Pity the collection of local residents groups doesn’t include the bulk of our councillors who took to the application with a wet tram ticket.

  2. Again I stress, that despite the negative social and environmental consequences of the present 8 days of festivals, the expansion will indeed increase the risk of a major catastrophe if there is a heavy or flooding rain during a festival,.

    The venue cannot handle such a storm event and in fact the site will rapidly flood and cannot be evacuated.

    To put it bluntly people will lose there lives and there will be serious injury,

    Up till now it is by sheer luck that the festivals have not been struck by a heavy rain, although a small storm a few years ago bought us Splendour in the Mud,

    Reliance on having good weather for festivals at this site in the era of unpredictable climate change is the height of irresponsibility.


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