FAQ's

Parklands have held 9 events since 2013. The venue currently operates for approximately 2% of the year with the remaining time devoted to habitat restoration and maintenance activities. The following facts are derived from Parklands Performance Reports and various internal and external audits and assessments.

What the data clearly points to is that Parklands has been on a path of continuous improvement covering key areas such as noise and environmental management.

We realise that some members of our community have questions and concerns regarding Parklands operations and its future. If you’d like to know more, please see below answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions.

No, that’s not and never was the case. In fact, Parklands recently undertook a range of community consultation processes including public meetings, letterbox drops and public advertisements seeking written feedback on the Preliminary Environmental Assessment. As a result of this community consultation, Parklands has since made the following adjustments to its proposed State Significance Application:

State Significant Development (proposed revised version)

  • 2 events per year (up to 35,000 patrons)
  • 3 one day events (up to 25,000 patrons)
  • 5 community events (up to 5,000 patrons)

With a further component being:

  • The Splendour in the Grass event increasing to 42,500 (subject to meeting KPIs for 35k event);
  • The Splendour in the Grass event reaching 50,000 (subject to meeting KPIs for 42.5k event);

Parklands is now finalising the Environmental Impact Statement which will then be placed on public exhibition, allowing the community a further opportunity to provide feedback. The submissions made by members of the community will then be responded to by Parklands before the DP&E make any recommendation (or otherwise) to approve the application.

Parklands originally applied for a permanent approval but was granted a 5-year trial approval. The venue has been operating under this trial approval since our first event in July 2013. Over the years we have built a certain level of infrastructure to improve functionality and 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.

Some types of development are deemed to have State significance due to the size, economic value or potential impacts that a proposal may have. 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 $30 million must be referred by Council to the Department of Planning and Environment. Importantly developer contributions will be payable to Byron Shire Council should the permanent application be approved.

The proposed number of 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 will accommodate.

Currently Splendour in the Grass, and Falls Festival each camp up to 20,000 patrons. That means for Splendour 2017, 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).

Byron Shire Council will always play a role in regulating those compliance aspects that fall under the numerous local government acts responsibilities. Three Byron Shire Councillors (including BSC Mayor Simon Richardson) are also members of the Parklands Regulatory Working Group (RWG). See below on the RWG.

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.. These representatives 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 has subsequently filled 3 positions as per the nomination process.

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 Council planned Yelgun interchange from one to two lanes. Parklands has also paid for sections of local roads to be sealed for residential amenity purposes.

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.

Since 2013, Parklands and its two events have distributed approximately $255,000 to local groups via its Community Grants program. 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 2016, Splendour in the Grass and Falls Byron created 246 EFT (equivalent full time) jobs in Byron Shire representing 2.25% of the Byron Shire workforce.

Parklands is well down the path of implementing a sustainable award winning Byron council approved 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

No. Parklands is 100% owned by Australians (many of whom are locals).

It doesn’t affect Parklands. Parklands is still operated by the same team since the property was purchased in September 2006.

Under our Flood Risk Management Plan, this forecast weather event would have resulted in the immediate cancellation of an event, or if an event was in progress, the immediate evacuation of patrons (which including all cars, and mobile infrastructure would take less than 8 hours).

Cyclone Debbie was a 1 in 100-year storm event that wreaked havoc and flood related destruction across coastal areas from North Queensland to the Northern Rivers in NSW. It was a tropical low which moved slowly down the east coast of Queensland, and typical of these weather systems, they provide multiple days’ notice of their likely pathway.

Parklands, using its weather forecasting system and liaising with the BoM and emergency services received advice that up to 300mm could fall across the venue more than 96 hours before Thursday 30 March (the most intense rainfall day).

North Byron Parklands did not escape flooding of parts of its camp grounds, however the storm event was an excellent test of our Significant Rainfall Forecasting System (SRFS).

In 2013, Parklands invested in two state of the art weather stations capable of providing real time data covering rainfall, stream gauge heights, temperature, wind speed and directions. This wealth of continuous data is fed into the wider Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) weather monitoring systems and has helped improve local weather forecasting capabilities.

The SRFS was spot on and unlike many other locations, the venue avoided loss of property and equipment. Such a system might be useful for local Council’s across the region to augment their emergency weather information to residents to help protect property.

While the probability of a 1:100-year rainfall event occurring during an event day at Parklands (of which there are only currently 8 per year) is more than 1:18,250, the venue’s SRFS has shown its effectiveness and accuracy in managing issues such as floods. Parklands will no doubt use this information as part of its ongoing incident simulation exercises with emergency services.

Parklands has never had the need for a partial or full evacuation because of bushfire and there have never been any bushfires in surrounding lands during an event. Parklands Bushfire Emergency Evacuation Plan (BEEP) has been through 9 RWG and 9 Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) meetings (which includes Byron Shire Council representatives). The BEEP has been endorsed by the LEMC every time. The Rural Fire Service have more than 20 firefighters and at least two appliances plus a control command bus at each event. This presence increases the safety of adjoining landowners in relation to bushfire. Parklands and event personnel have undertaken numerous incident simulations with the RFS, NSW Police and other emergency service agencies during the trial period.

For Splendour in the Grass 2016 and Falls Festival Byron 2016 / 2017 the:
- Total direct expenditure by festival organisers and patrons was $55.1million. Byron Shire accounted for 29.4% ($16.6m);
- Total economic output for the two events is measured at $126.4m. Byron Shire accounted for $34.6m;

There were 52,800 room nights in commercial accommodation in Northern NSW (excluding Parkland’s camping grounds).

Across Splendour 2016 and Falls Byron 2016 / 2017 there was a total employment creation of 246 equivalent full time (EFT) jobs in Byron Shire (representing 2.25% of the Byron Shire workforce);

Across the same timeframe, the total direct salaries and wages generated by the two events was $15.4m (including $6.6m in the Northern Rivers region).

Parklands have always worked closely with the NSW Police. Like all major events in NSW, both Splendour in the Grass and Falls Byron Bay utilise a Police User-Pay system. The process to date is to provide NSW Police with the approved patron capacity numbers. The NSW Police Service then advise events of the required policing numbers and charge the events for these officers directly. The events have no role in determining final police numbers, this decision is always made by NSW Police. Other than the drug dog operation, all NSW Police are hired on a user pay system. This user-pay service helps ensure that normal policing services to the community can also be maintained.

The NSW Police Escalated Licensing Operational Response Model (ELORM) is a system for rating violence at venues is based on pubs and clubs with capacities typically less than 300 patrons. The ELORM is a matrix that is applied to a venue based on the number of incidents. There is no proportionate weighting or aggregate that is followed based on the number of incidents versus the number of persons in attendance. This means festivals such as Splendour are currently measured against venues that are as small scale as a 100-person event. We firmly believe that this current rating system does not accurately reflect an event of 32,500 (Splendour 2017) people that had relatively few incidents.

We are proud of our environmental processes and are strongly committed to enhancing the environment at Parklands. Ecologists and botanists have undertaken more than 200 days of onsite assessment at Parklands since the project commenced. This level of ecological assessment is more than has taken place on ANY other private land in the Byron Shire.

We have also completed three ‘whole of property’ Fauna and Flora systematic surveys and three ‘whole of property’ Koala surveys (to date, no koalas have been sighted at Parklands).

Parklands has commissioned 9 before/during and after event flora and fauna monitoring programs and, to date, no evidence of significant adverse impacts from the conduct of events was evident for any of the fauna groups monitored or for native vegetation.

Parklands employs a team of bush regeneration staff one day a week to plant trees, remove exotic weed species and build nest boxes and other fauna habitat. More than 20,000 native trees have been planted (some with the help of patrons at both Splendour and Falls).

Finally, Parkland’s has signed an agreement with the Minister for the Environment to swap 35 Ha of forested land to complement the Billinudgel Nature Reserve in return for 8Ha of cleared land (an old highway easement) upon securing permanent approval.