Cessnock Council 16 April 2014

Transcript of part of audio from ordinary meeting of Cessnock Council, 16 April 2014.
Permission to post the actual audio has been refused, but copies may be obtained from Council by lodging the application, with a $30 fee.
My hearing is not the best; any mistakes are all my own work. :->

Mayor Pynsent:    Deferred business EE60, 2014. Councillor Campbell.

Councillor Campbell:    Yes. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Uh. I'd like to move the recommendation with some amendments. Uh. I'll read it out for the benefit of the gallery. Uh. The recommendation is:
    Point 1. That council determine Development Application No. 8/2013/679/1, proposing a music fest-, temporary music festival on the 23rd, 24th, 25th of May 2014, pursuant to Section 8 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act by granting the, uh, consent, subject to the following:
    1. That the music festival shall be held on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of September. Uh.

    Subsection 2. Imposition of all, uh, conditions contained in this report, with the exception of condition 2, which shall be amended to read as follows:
Approval for the temporary event and associated camping is granted from February 19, uh, sorry, Friday, 19 September 2014 to Sunday, 21 September 2014, for a maximum of 1,500 attendees. Setup for the event shall occur from Wednesday, the 17th of September 2014, and dismantling shall occur until 22 September 2014.

    Subsection 3. Imposition of a condition, which shall read as follows: The proponent is to supply noise-limiting devices or automatic volume control, electronic sound level noise attenuation system to ensure the maximum decibel levels are not exceeded at any time during the event where amplified music or sound is emitted. In the event the maximum decibel levels are exceeded, the amplified music or sound shall immediately, shall, shall be automatically shut off.

    Subsection 4. Amendment to Con-, Condition 46, which shall read as follows: An amended traffic management plan shall be provided to, and reported to the council for approval not less than 28 days prior to the event, addressing the following: Provision of water carts for the purpose of dust suppression on Mount View and Mitchell's Road for the duration of the event. Uh. Provision of traffic controllers marshals on Mount View Road while heavy vehicles are entering and leaving the site, and during the bump in and bump out phases of the event.
Particular emphasis shall be given to the constrained areas on Mount View Road to minimise conflict between heavy vehicles and existing road users, and vehicles must be able to enter and exit the site without queuing onto Mitchell's Road or affecting traffic in Mount View Road.

    And Subsection 5. Amendment to Condition 3, which shall read as follows:
All amplified music will cease at 11:00 p.m. on each day the event operates. Uh.

    Point 2. Council will notify in writing the persons who made a submission with regard to the proposed development of councils decision.

    I'll speak to it if I may, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Troy? Councillor Campbell?

Councillor Campbell:    Yeah. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Um. This, the recommend, well, the motion that I've just put is different to what we faced 2 weeks ago. It is very, very different indeed to what we were originally presented with before Christmas. Uh. The amendments which I am proposing are the result of the conversations that we've had with the residents. I understand they're upset about this, um, and I want to assure them that I, and I suspect everyone here, has read every single submission. We've listened to every single call. Um. But the thing that really is persuasive to me, is that the council staff are as risk-averse and cautious as anyone. That's the nature of their job. And yet, they are recommending this for approval. Now we've often rebuked them for being too risk averse. We've often approved things that they've instructed us to reject. And yet they recommend this for approval.

    And I want to clarify why I think this is okay. There will be marshals on the road, and they'll be communicating with each other. There will be no pass outs. There will be police and security on the site for the whole 3 days. If the noise, if the noise gets too loud, it will stop. It will stop anyway at 11:00 p.m.

This is a far better proposal than when it was first brought to us. It's the result of listening to the community. And, uh, I want to thank them for being so open and being willing to talk to us. Um. And I also want to thank the proponent because they've been willing to compromise. I suspect some of the compromises which I am proposing in this motion have caused them to grit their teeth somewhat. Um. That's, that's the nature of the process. But I want to thank them for that.

    Without these amendments, I won't support the proposal. But I feel that with them, and given the fact that it's recommended for approval, uh, I, I think that this now is acceptable, and so I'll move that way. Mr. Mayor.

Unknown:    Yep.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Stapleford?

Councillor Stapleford:    I'd like to move an amendment, please? Uh. The amendment is that council refuse the application.

Unknown:    Yep.

Mayor Pynsent:    And the grounds?

Councillor Stapleford:    The grounds is that the site is totally unsuitable. It's totally unsuitable for the venue. Uh. The noise impact will be sufficient, and the mitigation devices are not adequate for the people. Once you stop the amplified music, you still have 1,500 people there. Uh. The council. Uh. The risk of a natural hazard will be increased by such a large number of people in spring. And the amenity of nearby residents will be impacted detrimentally due to the lighting. You're in a little gully at the bottom of a hill, and no matter what you do with the lighting, you are going to affect the local residents, and this should have been taken into account by our planners.

Mayor Pynsent:    Can we just go to the, the, uh, the dot points in the motion before you speak to it, Councillor?

Councillor Stapleford:    I'm sorry. So we, didn't we, yeah, we just wait in there?

Councillor Campbell:    I just got a copy of them.

Mayor Pynsent:    Second? Councillor Wrightson.

Unknown:    I'm just waiting for you. Pardon me? Pardon? Yes. Hmm, yeah. Yeah, okay.

Mayor Pynsent:    So you're speaking to that, Councillor?

Councillor Stapleford:    Oh, I'd like to add a dot point 5 to that, that it's not in the public interest.

Mayor Pynsent:    So we're moving. Comfortable with that, Councillor Wrightson, with the addition of dot point 5? Speaking to it.

Councillor Stapleford:    Yes, Mayor Pynsent. This development has dragged on for a while. There's been a lot of public debate. Uh. And the people in that area, they're a small group, live around the ridge overlooking a valley. The roads are rural roads, gravel, and narrow at places. The area is totally unsuitable for that many people and that much traffic movement in that particular area. It, it, um.

Mayor Pynsent:    Thanks, Councillors.

Councillor Stapleford:    It is totally unsuitable. The number of people. Noise mitigation. How are you going to control 1,500 people. They automate cutoffs, cut the amplified music off. You still have 1,500 people with nothing to do after 11 o'clock. There is going to be noise, which will interfere with the amenity of the other people, the local residents, who we are here to support, the local residents. The lighting. No matter what you do with the lighting, you are still going to have a bright area at the bottom of the valley, which every one of these residents will see from their houses. It is totally not suitable for, for an event like this, and it should be refused.

Mayor Pynsent:    Okay. Yeah. If there's no further debate, I'll put the amendment. There ... Councillor Wrightson?

Councillor Wrightson:    Thank you, Mayor Pynsent. I would just like to echo the words of Councillor Stapleford. One, one very, very important thing that I would, uh, as a new Councillor, that I would, uh, like to say, is that under the Local Government Act, and, uh, in particular referencing Section 232 of the Act, the role of a Councillor is clearly spelled out. The role of a Councillor is to represent the interest of residents and rate payers. What I'm doing here tonight, by supporting this amendment that Councillor Stapleford has put forward, and in a response to the massive public objection that we had in relation to this application, I have listened to the residents.

Thank you.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Parsons.

Councillor Parsons:    Yes, Mr. Mayor. Uh. I've, I want to ask a couple of questions about this, if you don't mind. Um. They're saying that, um, they're going to, um,
when they go in there'll be, be no pass outs, or whatever. Yet, in the re-, in the correspondence that came back from Paved Way, they commend themselves that people will be going out to other accommodation, and apart from that, there will be, um, buses that will be going on the hour for people that want to go. Are they going to be locked in, or are they going to be able to go out?

Mayor Pynsent:    So the director.

Director:    Uh. Thank you, Mayor Pynsent. I might just have to take that on notice and defer to the manager. Uh. My understanding was that there were pass outs.

Councillor Parsons:    Well, I, I didn't, um, I, I thought that Councillor Campbell made the comment that they were, was going to be shut in.

Mayor Pynsent:    We need clarification from, um, Ms McCarthy.

Ms McCarthy:    Thank you. Through you, Mayor. Um. Yeah, certainly the applicant's most recent correspondence, which is the one you're referring to, Councillor Parsons, does stipulate that people will be leaving the venue. So, it is assumed that there will be pass outs.

Councillor Parsons:    Well that, that gives a completely different outlook onto, um, you know, what they, they've been asking for, that everybody was going to be there. They would not be able to leave. And, um, that once they were there, if they left, there'd be no pass outs. Now they're saying that there is. So I think that we're really getting quite a confusing message of, about this, uh, particular application.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Olsen.

Councillor Olsen:    Thanks, Mayor Pynsent. I certainly, uh, support, uh, the amendment put up by Councillor Stapleford. I think the residents have made it quite clear to me that they don't believe this is the right place for a concert. I certainly don't believe it's the right place for a concert. I can't see the benefits to the local community, especially if there's no pass outs, or if there is pass outs, I don't know why there is. I'm trying to work out what we're supposed to be having here and what we're approving, because we don't seem to know what we are approving. So that means, what do we end up getting? I think a lot of, a lot of trouble for the residents out there. The, the chance of conflict, chance, chances of, uh, an accident on a very rural road is, uh, doesn't need this type of traffic on there.

     Uh. The benefits to Cessnock as a community are nil. Especially if there's no pass outs. There'll be no benefit to this community whatsoever. It's only going to be detrimental to the residents out there, and I can't see any reason why we should be supporting it. What, what we, what are we going to end up with next? Where are we going to put the next concert? We've got enough places for concerts in this community. I don't believe we need to be going into, uh, rural areas.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Troy.

Councillor Troy:    Yeah, thanks, Mayor Pynsent. I guess a couple of things. Uh. I'm speaking against, uh, Councillor Stapleford's amendment for several reasons. Um. Is it even legal to keep people captive in a, in a place like this? I mean, the, the proposal sounds absolutely ridiculous. Can I just get some clarification? Is it even within anybody's powers to keep someone within the boundaries of a property if they need to leave. I mean, it's, it seems ... Can somebody answer any of that, just for the start?

Mayor Pynsent:    The manager, um. No? The director? Yep. No. Try that one.

Director:    Mayor. Councillor Troy, it would be arguable that it may be ultra vares.

Councillor Troy:    Yeah.

Director:    If council were to impose a condition that required people to be contained for 3 days. Um. There may be, I guess, a greater risk of, uh, an appeal against that were the council to approve the event with a condition of that nature. For example, if people were to leave for emergency reasons, that would technically be a breach, I guess. But, there, there, there may be a carefully worded condition that you could think of that would, um, minimise pass outs except for emergency reasons or other.

Councillor Troy:    Yeah.

Director:    It would be up to council.

Councillor Troy:    I appreciate your answer. Thank you. Happy to, uh, happy to come up with some sort of happy medium there. I mean, it, it would seem quite remarkable if we were proposing for anybody to be held captive, so to speak. I mean, it's a free country after all. Uh. We are talking about patrons for this event who are coming from, you know, far and wide and near. You know, I've had a lot of correspondence. Some of that I've forwarded on to the Councillors in the last couple of weeks, of letters of support. You know, often you'll find, as Councillors well know, you get letters of complaint, but very rarely letters of support for things. You get anecdotal. People will stop us because we all live in the local community. People will stop us in the street and say, "I think that's a great idea." And that's happened to me time and time again. And some of those have taken the time to actually e-mail. So, you know, I think we've got a, a, a fair balance on both sides of the argument.

    Um. I have said, and will say again, that this is the same type of argument that we're hearing here against this development, is the same type of argument that we heard, some of those Councillors who have been here longer than others will recall, that we heard some of these same arguments against the concerts at Hope State, Bimbadgen, Tempest Two, et all, those, those larger, larger venues. Now they're, they're tens of thousands of people over the space of a year. We did, uh, restrict those to, initially, to special events, to one off events, so that we could regulate them. So events didn't pop up around the, the neighbourhood unregulated. We did have some con-, control, and I think the controls that have been proposed tonight, along with the controls that are already in place, uh, make a, a whole heck of a lot of sense. We, we then do get to say whether this sort of thing continues or not. If it, if it, you know, the worst case scenario happens, then we have some kind of recourse.

    But, uh, we, we, speaking about people and treating them like they're a bunch of animals. Now, this is 1,500 people who are coming to a concert venue. You know, who wants to be, who wants to be treated like they're a bunch of animals. The way that people are speaking about this is, is just breathtaking.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Campbell.

Councillor Campbell:    Yeah, thank you, Mr. Mayor. Just to clarify the pass out issue, I take Councillor Parsons' point. Um. Uh. Just reading the letter here, uh, that there will be pass, there won't be, people won't be coming and going. They will, however, have the option of catching the shuttle bus, so the shuttle bus will be the only traffic on the road associated with the festival at that time. There won't be people in their cars coming and going. Uh. The, uh, people staying outside will have a pass out wrist band for attendees staying off site. We will have a shuttle bus running to take them back to their choice of accommodation once they're there. So to clarify, I shouldn't have said no pass outs. That, but that will be the only traffic associated with the festival during the festival.

Mayor Pynsent:    Okay. I'm going to put the amendment. Those in favour? Councillors Wrightson, Olsen, Stapleford, Smith, and Parsons. Those against? Councillors Gibson, Troy, Doherty, Hawkins, Campbell, Maybury, and Pynsent. It's lost. And back to the original motion. Councillor Hawkins.

Councillor Hawkins:    Uh. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I wasn't going to speak on this, but if I could just briefly. Um. I'd like to thank, I suppose the 3 sides involved in this. Council staff for working with the applicant on their event. But also the community for raising genuine concerns. Um. I think that the people that know where there are dangerous roads or, or concerns, they've brought those concerns forward in the appropriate manner, and they've been able to be conditioned. Um. Fifty-eight conditions of consent for an event is quite a lot, um, one of those conditions being that council officers as well as council rangers, uh, be on site throughout the course of the event. Um. I, I think that is a fair indication of the commitment that council are giving the residents that this will be a safe event, um, that the New South Wales police have signed off on it, um, rural fire service, all of the relevant authorities. Um. I, I think it's good that we've been able to work together to, to put in place what hopefully will be a safe and enjoyable event.

    Um. This is a one off approval. So if it goes well then we'll look to revisit it. I would assume, um, from the promoter's, uh, enthusiasm to hold such an event, if it doesn't go well then I'll be the first one to say, "It went well, yeah, we're not doing that again." Um. But in, in the meantime, I know in today's Newcastle Herald, Cessnock was actually praised for one of the first times for trying different things, for attracting the soccer, um, is it the Asian Cup? Um. We've gone out of the square, attracting golf course developments. We've gone out of the square with big events. The Rolling Stones are coming to the Hunter Valley. Um. That's a, a Hope State thing. I heard the naysayers, you know. "Ninety thousand people in the one spot. It'll be a disaster. It'll be terrible."

    Well, we've worked with the concert promoters and the events, and we've ironed out the bugs, and the traffic management issues have been managed. And there's still a traffic jam coming out of the Sydney cricket ground. How long's it been going for? And they haven't been able to fix the fact that so many people going to enjoy such an event causes delays. Um. For this one off event, yeah, I hope all of the negativity and the, "How will I sleep at night if somebody gets injured on the road." I hope that's all in vain, and I hope that doesn't come true. But I'll be supporting this event, and I really do hope they can make it work, because it's a, another thing, it's another feather in Cessnock's cap that we wouldn't have had, had these people not come to us and, and asked to run the event. Thank you.

Mayor Pynsent:    Councillor Wrightson.

Councillor Wrightson:    Yeah, thank you, Mayor Pynsent. Um. I would like to propose just er, a further amendment to build upon what, uh, Councillor Campbell has, has already, uh, included on the agenda tonight. And that, that amendment, uh, relates to page 37 of the agenda.

Mayor Pynsent:    So it's add-, adding to the, the motion. Is that what you said?

Councillor Wrightson:    It's just adding to the motion, yes. So page 37 of the agenda, if we look there at, uh, Item D, Evacuation and Emergency Management. We have a lower dot point there, I, that says, "A bush fire emergency evacuation plan is to be prepared in accordance with the New South Wales Rule 5 service document, Guide to Developing a Bush Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan." And to insert at the end of that, "and approved by the RFS prior to the event taking place." Now, have we got that there on the screen?

Mayor Pynsent:    Uh, we're just waking up.

Councillor Wrightson:    Thank you.

Councillor Campbell:    <inaudible> to do that? Because if so I'm happy to take it on. But I, you know.

Mayor Pynsent:    Yeah. We'll just get the director's clarification on it.

Director:    Thank you, Mayor. Councillor Wright-, sorry, Councillor Campbell, I think, I think you can. Um. Uh, I'm aware that, um, there were some inquiries with the manager this afternoon in that regard. So I'll actually defer to Ms McCarthy, if I could.

Mayor Pynsent:    Yeah. Ms McCarthy.

Ms McCarthy:    Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Yes, I, the RFS have imposed the condition as it's referenced in the business paper. However, I don't see a problem in inserting that. And if the RFS don't wish to actually approve of that plan, then they could provide written advice to that effect.

Mayor Pynsent:    Yeah.

Ms McCarthy:    Which would also ...

Mayor Pynsent:    Okay ... Yeah, right. Yep. Okay. With this. Okay, so, Councillor Parsons.

Councillor Parsons:    Mayor. Um. The voting was incorrect on that. I didn't vote against the amendment. I voted for it.

Mayor Pynsent:    Yep.

Unknown:    We'll fix that.

Mayor Pynsent:    Yeah, just bear with us. Okay, so we've, we're back to the original motion that was moved by Councillor Campbell, with the addition of the Rural Fire Service um condition. Councillor Hawkins.

Councillor Hawkins:    If this proposed event was limited to 499 people, would there be any consent conditions required? Instead of the 58 conditions of consent that council have worked on to ...

Mayor Pynsent:    Yeah, we got it. Ms McCarthy.

Ms McCarthy:    Thank you, through you, Mayor. Uh. Events under 500 people are actually exempt and do not require development consent. Notwithstanding that there would be other approvals that would still be required, such as temporary food stalls, any road closures, traffic management plans, possibly liquor licensing, etc. So there would still be approvals required, just not development consent from council.

Mayor Pynsent:    So.

Councillor Hawkins:    Thank you.

Mayor Pynsent:    With the und-, that understanding, are we going to put the motion? Those in favour? Councillors Gibson, Troy, Doherty, Hawkins, Campbell, Maybury, and Pynsent. Those against? Councillors Wrightson, Olsen, Stapleford, Smith, and Parsons.

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