Splendour man keen to allay resident fears
BRANDON Saul, a new part-owner of more than 600 acres of Yelgun land planned for the relocated Splendour in the Grass music festival, not far from the proposed Wooyung eco-resort, says he can understand some neighbours are concerned about noise and traffic.
But Mr Saul yesterday said the Yelgun farm bought for $6.5 million was big enough to keep noise and traffic impacts to a minimum and could even accommodate Byron's Blues and Roots Festival, also looking to relocate.
Mr Saul said the Yelgun site, waiting on development approval from Byron Shire Council, would be enhanced as a wildlife corridor linking the Billinudgel Nature Reserve and the Mt Warning world heritage region.
"We respect people's concerns. If I was living nearby I'd want to know everything had been thought through properly," Mr Saul said.
"People have been asking quite reasonable questions and we want to provide answers."
Mr Saul was responding to criticism of the development application from Brad and Donna Shipway, who told the Daily News last week the Splendour in the Grass organisers had not demonstrated why they need to move their huge annual event from its Belongil Fields site at Byron Bay.
Mr Saul said: "We want people to see the festival in operation at this new site.
"That's why we applied for a one-off approval, so the community as a whole can experience the event before being asked to comment on the longer-term use of the site.
"It just seemed the fair and reasonable thing to do.
"The longer-term future of the site will be dealt with as part of a separate approval process, allowing for broader consultation.
"The initial event will be subject to a detailed monitoring program that will help determine the true impact on the site in terms of traffic and the environment.
"Commonsense would suggest that a negative result will not auger well for any future approvals."
Mr Saul, an arts events administrator, is one of a group of 15 mostly Byron people who negotiated to buy the Yelgun land, which has direct frontage to Tweed Valley Way.
He said the aim was to continue to maintain beef cattle on the farm and over time stage events for no more than about 20 days a year.
Mr Saul said Belongil Fields was simply not big enough to continue to host Splendour in the Grass, held annually in August.