Pyalong event rejected

July 08, 2017

ec5(FIONA)30NOV2003 Earthcore at Undera

Mitchell Shire Council has rejected Earthcore organisers’ permit application to again hold the event in Pyalong this year.

The controversial dance music festival has been held in Pyalong since 2013, but has been a contentious issue in the community.

The 2016 event saw the festival’s first fatality, when a 43-year-old woman was found dead in her tent.

The woman was a volunteer worker for Earthcore, having arrived at the site in the days preceding the festival.

Planning permits have been issued annually since 2013, with certain conditions addressing safety, noise, amenity land rehabilitation and road impacts.

Council issued a permit for Earthcore 2016 with an option, subject to further written consent from Council, for an event from November 30 to December 4 this year.

The 2017 event was to be subject to satisfactory compliance with the 2016 permit conditions, a post event review, updated plans and a written request being made by March 30.

Council said the proposal was received late, didn’t include required information and was for different dates than those submitted the previous year when applying for a permit.

‘‘As the criteria were not met, the permit request falls outside of the consent provisions and council have no authority to grant it,’’ a spokesperson said.

‘‘Even if council did have authority to grant the request, it would be refused due to significant concerns about patron safety, illegal drug use, traffic management, security and noise that have not been addressed.’’

Pyalong Senior Sergeant Chad Garcia argued against the approval of the permit request in a submission to council.

Senior Sergeant Garcia said drug use, while not openly promoted, appeared to be widely accepted by festival attendees.

He also cited concerns about traffic issues, including alcohol and drug-affected drivers and access to the site on roads he felt were unsuitable for large events.

Pyalong residents, who wished to remain anonymous due to backlash from previous complaints, said they were overjoyed the festival had been rejected.

‘‘We have been blasted out of our house with the noise. The doors rattle and the floor vibrates from the thumping music,’’ one person said.

‘‘The idea that the festival brings money into the community has been blown out of proportion. It doesn’t bring anywhere near as much as the organisers claim.

‘‘It’s great that it brings some money but the overwhelming majority of people don’t want Earthcore because of the noise, the rise in crime and the undesirable people it brings to town.’’

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