Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry
summary, that I was ‘critical of organisers’, is not a fair reflection of my comments in Council about the Byron Music Festival application to use the community market site (Dening Park) for a one-off music event.
Regarding the organisers, I actually referenced the Review of Environmental Factors (REF), noting its clarity, care for sensitive dunes and willingness to work with Council staff.
What I did do is note the environmental issues raised by Cr Ndiaye as an important consideration in the public interest test for a licence to use Dening Park for a music event.
The organisers are planning to quarantine a 10 metre buffer to the dune edge from public access and to limit vehicles on site to bump in/out. In support of these measures, I was able to get an amended condition to cap audience numbers in line with the expectations of organisers and staff.
The public interest in a central beachfront location in Byron Bay that should prioritise open access for all is obvious. What is the benefit to our community of licensing an area to the Festival for a one-off concert? This is an event organised to support and celebrate an important aspect of Byron’s cultural identity, the local music industry. It is being organised by the local industry. It will help build confidence and solidarity within an industry badly affected by COVID. It is an ‘all ages’ event, likely to be attended largely by locals. Given the COVID times, allowing this event to go ahead in this central public space is a demonstration of the centrality of the music industry in our lives and a community desire to see it remain so.
‘Supportive of the organisers’ might be a better summary. That does not detract from a longer term public interest in protecting our beach and finding alternative sites within the town for future higher impact events.