Sparring over Splendour

The proposed Splendour in the Grass site at Yelgun, in North Ocean Shores, continues to create deep divisions in the community over the suitability of the site for music festivals.
The proposed Splendour in the Grass site at Yelgun, in North Ocean Shores, continues to create deep divisions in the community over the suitability of the site for music festivals.

THE company behind a bid to build a new site at Yelgun for the Splendour in the Grass festival has claimed majority support after thousands of people backed it during community consultation.

North Byron Parklands yesterday announced 4821 submissions to the NSW Department of Planning, along with a petition of 4160 signatures, had supported the proposed festival site during a recent six-week consultation period.

A department spokesman confirmed the numbers.

However, people arguing against the proposal have questioned the validity of the figures, saying many of the submissions appeared to be based on form letters and many of them, as well as many of the signatures on the petition, were frompeople who lived outside the area.

Coalition for Festival Sanity secretary Denise Nessel said she had started compiling a spreadsheet of the consultation results. So far, she had only made it through about 1000 of the more than 5000 submissions, but those early figures told a very different story.

Ms Nessel said of the submissions from people living in the 2483 post code area, which includes the proposed festival site, so far an overwhelming 91 per cent of respondents opposed the plan. A little further down in the 2482 post code area, which incorporated Mullumbimby and Main Arm, that figure shrunk slightly to 86pc opposed.

Ms Nessel believed many of the local people who sent submissions to the Department of Planning had read through the detail of the 2200-page proposal for the festival site and had genuine concerns aboutissues such as traffic.

“It’s not an anti-Splendour, anti-fun, anti-youth thing. It’s looking at the traffic and realising the Tweed Valley Way can’t sustain that many people,” she said.

Ms Nessel said the proposed festival site was flood-prone and posed a potential danger to festival goers.

She said the Government had invested heavily in protecting the neighbouring nature reserve.

North Byron Parklands general manager Mat Morris said his organisation was ‘obviously happy’ with the results of the public feedback to the proposal.

“We are addressing issues raised in submissions and will aim to provide feedback, including any up-dates to our proposal to the Department of Planning prior to Christmas,” he said.

Mr Morris said the site, if approved, could host events up to a maximum of 20 days each year (not including events under 300 people).

He said more than half the 267ha would be used for bush regeneration and habitat for native animals.

Mr Morris hoped to have an answer on the application early in the New Year.

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