North Byron Parklands calls for support

Regional leaders back proposal

The proposal for a permanent sustainable cultural event venue at North Byron Parklands has gone on public exhibition today, 7 October. Regional leaders are urging the local community to write submissions in support of the application to the NSW Department of Planning.

“The Department takes individual submissions via email or posted letter seriously” outlined Russell Mills, CEO of Northern Rivers Tourism. “Submissions in support of the proposal will make all the difference to the success of the application”.

The proposal allows for a range of events from small community events to major events including Splendour in the Grass. In total events could be held on the site up to 20 days each year, not including events of under 300 patrons. However Mat Morris, General Manager for North Byron Parklands says it will take many years to build to this number of event days, stating “Only one or two major events could occur in the first year of operation”.

A later stage proposes a conference centre with a capacity of up to 180 people, a cultural centre covering local indigenous and non-indigenous history from the immediate area, a depot and office for a dedicated rainforest restoration team and a plant nursery for rainforest and bush tucker plants.

The proposal promises annual Community Grants of over $100,000.00 when North Byron Parklands is operating at capacity. This program would commence with the first major event held. “North Byron Parklands will seek nominations from local community organisations for distribution of grant funds” outlined Mat Morris.

International consultancy firm RPS Group undertook a comprehensive Economic Impact Assessment of the proposal this year. Their report (which can be viewed as a part of the North Byron Parklands proposal) states that North Byron Parklands, operating at its full potential, will inject $192.6 million annually (total multiplier effect) into the national economy and will create 210 full time equivalent jobs.

Approval has been sought for:
• Minor events – less than 300 patrons – no daily limits are proposed
• Small events – 300 to 3,000 patrons – no more than 4 event days per year
• Moderate events – 3,000 – 10,000 patrons – no more than 4 event days per year
• Major events – 10,000 – 35,000* patrons – no more than 12 event days per year. Splendour in the Grass would occupy 3 of these 12 days.

* Extensive studies have shown that a manageable long term upper limit of patrons at the 660 acre North Byron Parklands site is 50,000 for a major event, however incremental capacity increases from 35,000 would only be sought based on achieving stringent performance criteria covering a range of aspects such as traffic, noise, ecology etc.

“North Byron Parklands would need to demonstrate that it had complied with or bettered the thirteen operational standards before capacity increases could be considered” said Mat Morris.

The event usage proposed is in grazed pasturelands covering less than 50% of the overall site, leaving the majority of the site for habitat use and bush regeneration.

The application includes extensive commitments to avoid where possible or otherwise mitigate impacts upon the residential amenity of those living around the site. The North Byron Parklands website details some of the strategies to preserve the residential amenity in the north of the Byron Shire during the limited periods each year when major events would occur.

Submissions can be posted or emailed. Postal submissions should be addressed to:
Department of Planning
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

Submissions should include:
“RE: 09_0028 – Cultural Events Site – Yelgun”.

For email submissions a link is available via

The proposal will be on public exhibition until 19 November and can be viewed online at or alternatively at Byron Bay library, Byron Shire Council or Summerland Credit Union Ocean Village Shopping Centre from 7 October.

Events NSW:
“There is no doubt that Splendour in the Grass has generated millions of dollars in economic benefits to the businesses of Byron Shire and has reinforced Byron Bay’s identity as one of Australia’s most significant cultural and creative centres. Events NSW would be delighted to see an event that delivers these types of benefits return to Byron Bay and NSW”.
Geoff Parmenter, CEO Events NSW

Northern Rivers Tourism:
“A lot is made of the major economic benefits Splendour in the Grass has generated in a traditional low tourism season for the Northern Rivers region. That’s often used to reinforce the views of those who oppose the event that it’s simply a cash-grab by greedy developers.  
By contrast, in my experience the organisers and site owners of North Byron Parklands demonstrate a commitment to triple bottom line accounting that should serve as a benchmark for all event organisers. The event is about more than economics; it contributes in many ways to the culture, economy and community of the Northern Rivers in a socially and environmentally responsible way.”
“Splendour is more than an important event to Byron Shire and the Northern Rivers. It’s been nominated as a state significant event but is clearly an event of national significance, when you consider that year after year the artists that perform are consistently amongst the most critically acclaimed in international contemporary music anywhere. We gain so much from them experiencing our wonderful region. The glowing testimonials these artists provide about Byron Shire is priceless.”
NRT fully supports the efforts to bring Splendour back to Byron Shire. We are encouraged by the event organisers’ publicly stated desire to bring it back to its original home in our region. Passionate people brought Splendour to the Northern Rivers. Only passionate people will be able to bring it back.”
Russell Mills, CEO Northern Rivers Tourism

Byron United:
“We believe that in Splendour we have an organisation of some of the country’s best event managers attempting to invest millions of dollars into our shire in an arts, community and cultural site with the best practice environmental management. It’s not about a particular event or demographic. The North Byron Parklands site is about ensuring our shire remains true to our history, indigenous and modern, being a place to embrace, celebrate and appreciate diversity of culture, music and people in an environment respectful to it surrounds. This investment will help Byron Bay get back on track, showing how well it can be done. The commerce side is that this private investment supports many small operators and will assist them to prosper and remain independent. We believe it will one of the best business investments our shire will see for a very long time”.
Ed Ahern, Vice President Byron United

Professor Kerry Brown, Southern Cross University and member of the local community
“I’m really excited about the flow on effects that this proposal will bring to the local community. I have visited the site and I can see that as a music venue within the region it provides enormous potential to encourage sustainable tourism along with music industry development. It’s a great opportunity”.

Tweed Tourism: 
“Tweed Tourism supports this important proposal for both shires. It will bring economic, tourism and jobs growth to the regions plus the community will win via the Community Grants program. A win, win for us all”.
Phil Villiers, General Manager Tweed Tourism

Byron Visitor Centre 
“The BVC would welcome a permanent site for festivals and events in Byron Shire.  The current chaotic uncertainty is not good for visitors or for local residents and businesses.  The security that a permanent site would offer in terms of future confidence, as well as traffic and crowd management is a good thing for the whole community.”
Katharine Myer, Manager, BVC

Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce:
“Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce fully supports the North Byron Parklands proposal for our Northern Rivers region. It will give a much needed boost for our tourism, economy, employment and entire community.  Write your supporting submissions now to give us this fantastic opportunity.”
Louise Owen, President, Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce

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