NORTH BYRON PARKLANDS (PARKLANDS)
Looking to the future
Parklands has now entered the final year of its five-year trial approval with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E), and we are now looking to the future.
To give certainty to the events that are held at Parklands, we are preparing our submission to the DP&E to make Parklands a permanent home for sustainable, world-class Arts and Cultural events in the Northern Rivers.
Please visit http://www.northbyronparklands.com/PEA-ESTIMATE.pdf and take the time to view a summary of the Preliminary Environmental Assessment. In the meantime, here the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.
20 festivals a year of 50,000 people! Is that true?
No, that’s not the case. As per the original approval submitted in 2010, Parklands is seeking approval for 12 event days between 25,000 and 50,000 patrons. The two existing events (Splendour in the Grass and Falls Byron Bay) currently take up 8 of these days, leaving the possibility of one additional large event.
The requested remaining 8 days would be for events under 25,000, For example, Parklands is now negotiating with a group to bring a running event for 2,000-3,000 participants.
- 12 event days per year with patron numbers between 25,000 and 50,000 noting that Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival Byron currently occupy 8 of these days;
- 8 Event Days per year with patron numbers under 25,000.
It should be noted that under the existing trial approval Parklands has the ability to host a third event, however this has not occurred due to lack of interest, reflecting the current market realities of events in Australia.
Why does Parklands need ‘permanency’?
The venue has been operating in a trial capacity since our first event in July 2013. Over the years we have built a certain level of infrastructure to improve patron amenity (including award winning relocatable composting toilets and showers) however permanency will mean significant improvements to infrastructure that will better manage traffic, lighting, and sound. Permanency brings clear performance parameters around Parklands future operations.
Why is Parklands going to State Government for its permanent approval instead of Byron Shire Council?
Parklands has no choice in the matter. Like any development, Parklands must work within the requirements of the NSW planning law. Under the current planning framework, any regional development with a proposed capital value of more than $30million must be referred by Council to the Department of Planning and Environment.
Once approved as a permanent site, what’s stopping Parklands from applying for more festivals and even bigger crowds?
Three large events is the maximum number the venue can reasonably schedule. Given the bump in and bump out times associated with major events and the time needed to prepare the venue between the events, additional large events are not viable.
The patron capacity numbers requested as part of the state significant development application are the maximum numbers the venue can accommodate.
Where are all these people going to sleep?
Currently Splendour In The Grass, and Falls Festival each camp up to 20,000 patrons.
That means for Splendour 2016, approximately 12,500 patrons either sourced alternative accommodation north and south of the venue or lived locally (local ticket sales were over 3500 patrons).
For Falls Festival Byron 2016/17, approximately 3,000 patrons either sourced alternative accommodation north and south of the venue or lived locally (local ticket sales for Falls Byron Bay were 2489, meaning 511 sourced alternative accommodation).
Will Byron Shire Council have a role in overseeing events at Parklands?
Byron Shire Council will always play a role in regulating those compliance aspects that fall under the numerous planning and local government acts. Three Byron Shire Councillors (including Mayor Simon Richardson) are also members of the Parklands Regulatory Working Group (RWG). See below on the RWG.
What is the Regulatory Working Group (RWG) and who chooses the community representatives?
The RWG is a group set up to oversee the environmental performance of events at Parklands during the trial period. Byron Shire Council is required under the consent to nominate at least two (2) Community Representatives to sit on the RWG for a term of two (2) years. Parklands has no input over the nomination or selection process for the RWG Community Representatives. These are determined by Council (by Councillors casting their vote for preferred candidates sourced from the publicly advertised expression of interest). This year, Byron Shire Council advertised to fill two (2) Community Representative positions on the RWG and subsequently filled those 2 positions as per the nomination process.
Does Parklands pay rates to Byron Shire Council?
Parklands pays approximately $20,000 per annum in rates and charges to Byron Shire Council. It should be noted that Parklands does not have any connection to Council water and sewerage systems and receives no waste, recycling or organics bin services.
Parklands has always paid Council fees in relation to all compliance matters that fall under its jurisdiction such as food vendor inspections, waste water, etc. In relation to the State Significant Development, Parklands will be required to pay a S94 development contribution.
In 2016, Parklands paid $150,000 to Byron Shire Council as a direct contribution that was negotiated between both parties to increase the Yelgun interchange from one to two lanes. Parklands has also paid for sections of local roads to be sealed for residential amenity purposes.
How else does Parklands contribute to the Byron Shire?
A $1 per ticket levy has been in place since the first event held at Parklands with 100% of these funds distributed to community and environmental groups predominantly located in the north of the Shire.
In the last 3 ½ years Parklands and its two events have distributed $194,500 to local groups. This significant funding supports a diverse range of initiatives in the community including; Shores United Soccer Club, local Public Schools, community and neighbourhood Centres, local Community Halls, Shara Community Gardens, Landcare groups, Byron Youth Services; and Byron Homeless and Community Breakfast.
The events held at Parklands also create direct employment opportunities. In 2015, Splendour In The Grass and Falls Byron created 196 EFT (equivalent full time) jobs in Byron Shire representing 1.79% of the Byron Shire workforce.
Will Parklands build a Sewage Treatment Plant onsite to deal with patron sewage?
Parklands is well down the path of implementing a sustainable composting toilet and greywater treatment system that results in 90% of all wastewater and sewage being managed on site. Parklands has plans to expand these systems as part of the permanent approval with the aim of achieving a 100% treatment capability.
Has Live Nation bought into Parklands?
No. Parklands is 100% owned by Australians (many of whom are locals).
How does the Live Nation 51% ownership of Splendour in the Grass and Falls affect Parklands?
It doesn’t affect Parklands, it is still operated by the same team who started the festivals and will continue to be the case.