Council goes bong-kers
MARDIGRASS organisers are unhappy with a long list of conditions set out by Lismore City Council in a new interim development application.
This year, organisers claimed the event did not require one. However, council threatened them with legal action if information to determine the need for a DA was not supplied.
Council has since issued event organisers with an interim DA and Nimbin Hemp Embassy secretary and SCU law student Jim Moylan said many of the conditions in it were "silly".
"For example; we're arguing whether or not the MardiGrass organising committee has to hire an ambulance to be on standby for the whole event. We have a hospital in the middle of town and SCU medical students at the event. Even the hospital and police are saying it's unnecessary," he said.
The event partially takes place on six private properties and MardiGrass organisers recently acquired signed consent forms, valid for five years, from the lands' owners. However, Lismore City Council asked for the consent forms to be signed again, Mr Moylan claimed.
The new interim DA also required MardiGrass organisers to implement water barriers during the event.
"We had water barriers in place two years ago. They looked terrible and cost a fortune. We didn't have them last year and nothing happened," Mr Moylan said.
MardiGrass organisers were discussing with council the option of other barriers, which would cost about $1000 less than water barriers.
Under the new DA and for the first time in MardiGrass's 20-year history, there will be restrictions on the number of people allowed in Nimbin Town Hall during the event. Every person who enters and leaves the hall will have to be counted by a volunteer, Mr Moylan said.
MardiGrass organisers will also be required to conduct sound level readings every two hours during the event.
"That's been required for the past five years and the noise level has never been over the legal limit," Mr Moylan said.
The DA conditions will place pressure on MardiGrass's volunteer work force, he said.
"I've devoted hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours to this, as have other people. I've had to take two weeks off from my studies to draft this application. I just don't understand why we have to jump through all these extra hoops."
MardiGrass organisers are still negotiating the DA's conditions with Lismore City Council. In 2011, organisers were required to fulfil 42 conditions but Mr Moylan expected there would be more this year.