MardiGrass under fire
ORGANISERS of Nimbin's signature event MardiGrass are in a race against the clock to comply with council requirements or face an injunction to stop the drug law reform rally.
MardiGrass has received a letter from Lismore City Council's lawyers threatening it with legal action if planning for the event, due to be held in May, continues without providing council with information to assess whether a DA for the event is required.
Fed up with increasing red tape, mounting costs and with a desire to get the event back to its roots as a political protest, organisers devised a program for this year's 20th anniversary rally which they expected would not require a DA.
However, the council took a different view and said it could not see how the planned event was dissimilar to events conducted in previous years.
"Council considers it is therefore uncertain on what basis you claim that a development application is no longer required for the event," the letter said.
One of the organisers Michael Balderstone said the committee had meet twice with council planning staff and they were waiting to hear details about the next meeting, which was to include police, when the lawyer's letter was received.
He said it had been difficult to get clear answers from the council to find out what it required, but believed MardiGrass had supplied the council with all the information it needed.
"No one seemed game to make decisions when we suggested MardiGrass is a protest for cannabis law reform and we may not need a DA," Mr Balderstone said.
The letter also said even if a DA was lodged prior to March 19, it was unlikely there would be time for it to be properly assessed.
"Any expectation that council should expedite assessment of any application at this late stage is considered by the council to be unreasonable," the letter said.
However, Lismore council development and compliance manager Peter Jeuken said the event would require a DA and the council still hoped to see the event go ahead.
"We would need to see a DA very soon for the council to have time to assess it," he said.
SHOULD MARDIGRASS BE ALLOWED TO GO AHEAD WITHOUT A D.A? Let us know what you think by making a comment below.
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