NEW FESTIVAL: Council votes on use of foreshore
Organisers of a new Byron Bay festival have welcomed the council's decision to support their use of the foreshore area.
Byron Music Festival is a new event slated to run from June 18 to 21 at Dening Park in Byron Bay.
Byron Shire Council staff had recommended the granting of a temporary licence for the use of this space.
When councillors discussed the proposal at their meeting on Thursday, they included a requirement for a "favourable assessment of a full event application" which includes a plan for environmental management on the site "with consideration of the dunal areas" and details on the financial structure and management of the event.
Not all councillors supported the use of Dening Park; Cr Jan Hackett wanted their decision to be deferred and Cr Sarah Ndiaye said she would like to see an alternative site, such as the Sandhills Estate, considered instead.
"I think we're not respecting the need to protect those dunes and secure them," Cr Hackett said.
"I'd really like to defer the granting of that licence … so we can have further discussions and look at other possible sites like Sandhills or somewhere else in town rather than trying to impose such heavy use on our sensitive foreshore."
Mayor Simon Richardson said raising those concerns was "admirable" but he pointed out the same area was already used for various events.
"One stage is going to be near the side entrance of the surf club … the second stage is where the stage for the markets is," he said.
He said other attempts by local musicians to put on new local festivals had been "suffocated in bureaucracy".
"It supports our music industry and I'd like to support it," he said.
Cr Paul Spooner asked for more clarity by including extra requirements but said he supported the idea.
"I don't want to see a good locally-grown event flounder because they haven't jumped through the hoops properly, or we don't understand it … as thoroughly as we need to," he said.
Festival director Nick Sergi said he was "ecstatic" at the council's support.
Monique Hartman, also involved with the event, said the organisers had every intention of following the right procedures and not harming the site.
"It's important to us that we get it right," she said.
She said although there was some opposition to the Dening Park location, this didn't mean organisers were not going to do what they can to operate in a manner that's sensitive to the coastal environment.