TEMPORARY REPRIEVE: Ratepayers association chairman John Bailey said residents want a decision soon on the Splendour site.
TEMPORARY REPRIEVE: Ratepayers association chairman John Bailey said residents want a decision soon on the Splendour site.

Festival proposal: one win but war goes on

By HANNAH ROSS

OPPONENTS of the North Byron Shire Parklands festival site are celebrating a ‘short-term victory’ after organisers of Splendour in the Grass announced they would not be seeking to hold the event at the site this year.

The announcement is a reprieve for the 25 lobby groups waging a campaign against the Yelgun festival site.

It also coincides with a petition presented to Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham this week signed by 77 businesses asking the council to reject the Splendour in the Grass DA.

Splendour in the Grass organisers announced this week ‘logistical considerations’ meant it would be amending its DA to hold x a trial Splendour in the Grass event in 2009. Organisers had previously planned to submit a DA for a trial event this year.

A spokesperson for North Byron Shire Parklands said yesterday community opposition to the festival site had not been a factor in the decision to amend the DA.

North Byron Shire Parklands general manager Mat Morris was ‘still very positive and confident’ the site would become ‘a great arts and cultural centre for the Byron Shire’.

But opponents of the proposal vowed yesterday to continue the fight.

“This is the first skirmish in what could be a very large battle,” Byron Ratepayers Association chairman John Bailey said.

The ratepayers association has joined with groups from Tweed and Byron Shires to call on Byron Shire Council to make its determination on the future of the proposed festival site as soon as possible.

“Families in the Yelgun Valley are living in limbo,” Mr Bailey said.

But the council’s director of planning Ray Darney said it would be several months at least before the Splendour organisers could submit their amended DA to the council.

He said the main issue with the 2008 DA was plans for a tunnel running under Jones’ Road to allow festival goers to access both sides of the site.

The tunnel was considered an expensive piece of infrastructure for a trial event that may never get ongoing approval, Mr Darney said.

Meanwhile, Splendour in the Grass are expected to submit a development application shortly to hold the 2008 festival at Belongil Fields in Byron Bay, where it has operated for the past seven years.



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