Outrage at proposal to trial Splendour on new site

BYRON Shire Council staff have given support to a development application that would see Splendour in The Grass move from Belongil Fields to privately-owned land at Wooyung next year.

Byron councillors will vote on the motion at tomorrow's extraordinary meeting.

However, staff support of the DA has caused outrage among members of the Byron Ratepayers' Association. Vice-president Dr Norm Sanders said to expect objectors to plough through the 130-page planning report in three working days was outrageous.

Dr Sanders also said the council report failed to include a document from the crime management Unit of the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, which identified the event as a medium crime risk and failed to include the main result of a phone poll which showed that 97 per cent of Byron residents wanted family tourism.

However, Byron Shire Councillor Jan Mangleson said she would vote in favour of the motion, which will approve an event trial run on a site which is about the size of Mullumbimby.

“There is a lot of merit in giving developers the opportunity to answer their critics over noise, traffic and pollution issues,” she said.

Cr Mangleson said losing the event would be a huge economic blow to the shire.

However, the president of the Byron Bay Ratepayers' Association, John Bailey, questioned the festival's economic benefits.

“Most of the 25,000 people are all fed and are drinking on-site,” Mr Bailey said. “They are not going to the shops or being involved with the shire's adventure tourism.”

While the DA would only approve a trial festival next year, Mr Bailey fears that approval of the DA would open the floodgates, not only to the three-day Splendour in The Grass, but other annual events on the site, especially as permanent structures would be built.

“The original DA was to approve 20 days of events on site each year,” he said.

“It's hard to see how they will recoup their capital investment on the site with just Splendour.”

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