Bluesfest site on agenda

BYRON councillors will decide today whether to approve Bluesfest's controversial bid to move to a new venue in 2010.

Organisers want to hold the five-day festival on a 120-hectare tea tree farm at Tyagarah, and make this Bluesfest's permanent home.

The event has been held at Belongil Fields for the past two years, but the growth of the festival, and plans to rezone and redevelop this site have forced Bluesfest to look elsewhere.

Bluesfest organisers say a move to Tyagarah will have many advan- tages, including keeping traffic out of Byron Bay over the busy Easter weekend.

The Tyagarah site was chosen for its size, its ability to accommodate camping, access, acoustic character- istics and ecological features.

There is also very little development close by. But the proposal has drawn opposition from sections of the community who are concerned about the scale of the event, noise, traffic and amenity impacts in the north of the shire, environmental damage, illegal camping, impacts on nearby businesses and property security.

John Bailey of the Byron Ratepayers Association says Bluesfest should stay in Byron Bay.

“It should be close to town where people can walk back to town and their accommodation,” he said.

Each night there'll be 15,000 people turned out onto our roads; it's going to create a huge issue with safety. Mr Bailey said large-scale festivals had very little economic benefit for the local community, as most goods and services were provided in-house at the festival site.

“Council has got to knock it back,” Mr Bailey said.

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