Parachute Consent to be Reviewed in light of Residents Concerns
Story Courtesy of Waipa District Council
Following a Regulatory Committee meeting on Monday, the Waipa District Council has resolved to review the Resource Consent conditions granted for the Parachute Christian Music and Arts festival in light of residents concerns.
The company managing the event sought, and was granted a Resource Consent in November last year to increase the permissible sound levels in the Mystery Creek area for the music and arts festival previously held at Totara Springs Christian Camp in Matamata. The resource consent set down a number of conditions to be met by organisers to help avoid and/or mitigate any adverse effects on local residents. The event was held in January for the first time at the Mystery Creek Events Centre and saw numerous complaints regarding noise levels from the site.
In granting the original resource consent, the Council stipulated the need for a public debrief meeting to allow residents to voice any concerns and for a review of the event. A wellattended public meeting in the Kaipaki town hall in February with residents, Mystery Creek Events Centre management and the Festival organisers generated a petition and numerous written submissions, both in opposition and support, to Council.
The Regulatory Committee met on Monday to consider a report from Council’s consultant Steve Bigwood. Mr Bigwood’s report was to determine if there was a need to review the consent conditions, to establish the statutory limits of any review and to recommend whether a detailed compilation of information gathered at the event including those from the sound level noise monitoring reports, a complaints register and numerous health and safety reports. Noise was identified as the main adverse environmental effect and the report noted a Festival patrons were saying the music wasn’t loud enough.
In deciding whether a review of conditions was required, the Council had to consider whether the consent conditions were effective in mitigating the noise issues. Noise monitoring was undertaken throughout the Festival both inside the site at the sound stage level and at various other points in the area adjacent to Mystery Creek and were found not to have breached the Resource Consent conditions. Residents concerns however have been taken into account and Council will formally advise Parachute Festival organisers of a review of the consent conditions.
Under the Resource Management Act the Council is not able to reduce the duration of the four-day event nor amend or impose new conditions, which would have the effect of preventing the Festival. However the Council intends amending some of the conditions of the consent to address residents concerns. The Council will request significant changes, including the cessation of some activities, the reduction in operation of others, and better liaison and consultation by the organisers with affected residents. It will also require traffic, noise and health and safety reports to be available at least three months before the event for approval by Council. There will also be increased noise monitoring with noise levels being monitored on both sides of the Waikato River from the Mystery Creek site.
The Council will also request the cancellation of all helicopter operations, cited for both noise and agitating stock, carnival rides will only be available from midday till 10pm and it will require the appointment of a Community Liaison person within the Parachute Festival organisation who has the authority to act on residents concerns.
The Committee noted that Police were happy both with security and traffic management at the site. The operating hours of the Festival were reconsidered but the Committee considered they did not warrant further restrictions given that the shut down time of midnight on the Friday to Sunday and at 2pm on Monday afternoon had already been reduced from the original application.
Parachute Festival organisers will have 15 working days after being notified of the amendments to the conditions of consent to agree to the amended conditions or to object. As the extent of this review does not extend to either the lowering of Festival music noise limits, or the hours of operation, the Committee also determined that this review would not be publicly notified which would allow for further submissions from the public.