Mess at the North Byron Parklands after the recent Splendour in the Grass festival 2015
Mess at the North Byron Parklands after the recent Splendour in the Grass festival 2015 Contributed

Call for eviction of Splendour after noise pollution fine

BYRON music festival Splendour in the Grass copped a fine for being too loud during its 2015 festival in June, prompting a local wildlife group to call for an end to festivals at the trial North Byron Parklands site.

It's the second noise infringement notice issued to Splendour by the NSW Planning Department since the opening of the Parklands.

It was also warned for violating other consent conditions after evidence was presented to the Planning Department by local wildlife group Conservation Of North Ocean Shores (CONOS).

CONOS is concerned the festival's noise is having a big impact on local wildlife, including about 50 threatened species that use a nearby wildlife corridor and wetland.

CONOS spokesman Bob Oehlman said the group had evidence that some of the loudest breaches occurred in the sensitive Billinudgel Reserve, although he said was the Planning Department's own monitoring which led to the fine.

Mr Oehlman said issues had been "ongoing" at the site since the trial kicked off in 2013 and despite the latest fine the Planning Department had barely enforced many of the group's complaints.

"We've had photographic evidence of some of the breaches and they've said no, we've got to catch them in the act ourselves," he said.

"Our argument is why impose all these conditions if they're not going to enforce them.

"We're not against festivals... it's just where this festival was given approval to operate is a joke.

"The State Government spends a lot of money investing in a nature reserve of very high value and then plonks a festival site in the middle of it, basically.

"Sure, Parklands have done some tree planting but… what's the point of planting trees to attract wildlife when you're blasting noise at them and frightening them off.

"It's been shows overseas that these noise problems, you don't notice (the impact) until years later."

Mr Oehlman said CONOS was primarily concerned with the festival's impacts on the local biodiversity, although he noted residents as far as 10km away in Upper Burringbar were affected by noise from the events.

"The people who run Falls and Splendour from day one have wanted the levels increased; fortunately the Department of Planning have resisted that," he said.

"It's the bass levels that are the major problem, hence the rattling of windows and such.

"We are not opposed to music festivals, we just don't want to sacrifice a richly unique environment for the festivals.

"We believe the owners should move to an area that is not a bio-hotspot. It would make no difference to the music patrons, but it would be a big plus for the 50 threatened species that are resident in the locality."

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