Koalas not behind war at Yelgun

Residents of Chindera, just to the north, face a massive residential development that should legally have bitten the dust years ago, and wonder at the wisdom of opposing a development that will preserve the land for future generations in a way that simply refusing any development at all cannot achieve.

Planners attempting to create a network of sustainable villages are far more concerned about the sprawling suburban developments around Lismore and Byron Bay, than they are by the use of land for temporary megafestivals.

By his own account, these considerations were among those that led independent councillor Peter Westheimer to cast the vote that will allow the trial festival go ahead.

There is no doubt that the presence of humans, at any density, is detrimental to the well being of the natural environment. The challenge, though, is to minimise our impact and learn to live in harmony rather than at odds with the environment.

From that point of view, a suburban development, while potentially less noisy than a music festival, has a far greater destructive impact. Suburbs rely on vast amounts of energy-intensive transportation to survive. Water, energy and food are transported in from elsewhere, waste is transported out for treatment and the absence of industry and commerce mean that suburban dwellers don’t work, shop, study or entertain themselves where they live.

The provision for parking of thousands of cars at the new Splendour site is its great weakness. Were the nearby towns of Billinudgel and Mooball to be used as transport hubs and a light rail built to the festival site instead of the car park, we would not only have a more environmentally friendly festival, we would begin constructing the commercial basis for the return of the train line, a major environmental boon for all of us.

Those who oppose any development at all, confuse their own preference for the status quo with real concern for the environment. Yes, people are the problem, but it is not just other people.

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