Groups unite against festivals

ANGRY community groups joined forces yesterday to urge Byron Shire residents to support their battle to stop Byron Bay becoming the 'party destination of the East Coast'.

The meeting at Ocean Shores Community Centre focused on Byron Shire Council's approval of a development application to stage Splendour in the Grass at Yelgun.

“There is major concern over privately-funded festival sites in Byron Shire,” meeting chairman Mac Nicolson said.

“We believe that the festival issue is becoming the number one issue of concern, not just for residents of the shire's northern precincts but for all residents, as we come to terms with the possibility of up to eight major festivals taking place each year on two different privately-owned sites.”

Mr Nicolson said each festival would cater for more than 20,000 people a day, which would place unsustainable pressure on the local community, its environment and infrastructure.

“We are not against festivals,” Mr Nicolson said.

“But the only way they can be kept to a sustainable size and frequency is through the site being council owned and controlled.

“A coalition of community groups has come together, representing groups from Byron and Tweed Shire.

"We have a strategy and a fighting fund has been set up for legal costs. We will not surrender this community to developers.”

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