Whangamatā youth festival hits council hurdle

An event organiser is seeking to hold a multi-day youth music festival at Aickin Road Sports Reserve in Whangamatā during the festive period..

A multi-day youth music festival that could attract thousands of people to Whangamatā over Christmas and the new year has received opposition from authorities.

Ollie Events Limited has applied for a restricted discretionary resource consent for a two-day, outdoor, alcohol-free youth festival to be held on December 30 and 31 – with alternative dates of January 1-2 or January 2-3 –for up to 6000 people at Aickin Road Sports Reserve for a term of five years.

Oliver James Hobson and Kim Oliver Hobson, listed as directors, have submitted an application for the event.

Correspondence in the report goes back to 2022 when Thames-Coromandel District Council confirmed it had been working with an event organiser which was applying for a one-off resource consent for a music event at the reserve.

In its letter of application, dated March 14, 2024, Planners Plus director Tracy Lamason says Ollie Events have amended its proposal following an independent commissioner’s decision on September 22, 2023, to publicly notify the application.

That includes an updated site plan and a noise assessment, while the five-year consent term would provide more certainty for the applicant.

The council says the outdoor event would not meet the permitted standards as it would exceed the permitted noise level of 40 decibels on the site boundaries from 10pm to 12.10am and a 70 dBA LAF maximum noise level would occur for a consecutive period of more than 24 hours.

A humming refrigerator is measured at 40 dBA, conversation at 80 dBA and lawnmowers record 95 dBA.

The council also says the event could exceed rules related to the number of vehicles allowed.

In a letter to Ollie Events dated April 5, 2024, council’s development planning team leader Katy Dimmendaal says it has decided to notify the public of the application, which requires a deposit charge of $15,000 for the council to initiate the public notification process.

Louise Cowan, of SLR Consulting, in a report to TCDC, notes the noise levels proposed are to be 95 dBA when measured 25m from a stage.

When measured at the boundaries of adjacent sites, noise levels would be 75 to 80 dBA and are well above the maximum levels provided for and did not comply.

The festival also doens't comply as it's proposed to operate over two days, starting at 3pm and finishing about 33 hours later.

With set-up occurring two days prior and pack down one day after, the event would be occurring for longer than 24 hours.

In terms of parking, the standards specified that where the site only has frontage to a local or collector road, there are no more than 100 trips per day measured in equivalent car units, or where the site only has frontage to local roads, there are no more than 250 trips per day, also measured in equivalent car units.

The proposed site for the festival has frontage to Lincoln and Aickin roads (local roads) as well as Martyn Rd (urban collector road).

Based on 15 per cent of patrons being dropped off and an average of 2.5 persons per vehicle, the proposal might result in 705 trips (360 cars) per day.

A site layout for the proposed music festival at Aickin Road Sports Reserve.

The site is about 350m northwest of Whangamatā town centre and is used for cricket during summer and rugby in winter, it has grass embankments on the perimeter broken up by clubrooms and netball courts along the northeastern boundary with cricket nets and a Scout Hall on the southwest boundary.

The festival would be alcohol-free and people could not come and go from the event. Toilet facilities, food and non-alcoholic facilities, water drinking stations, first aid and crew parking would be provided for.

Ollie Events have provided an event management plan including crowd safety and security management, lighting, fencing, toilets, rubbish and recycling.

It would employ 51 operational staff with a contingency of seven additional staff if required.

In its application, Ollie Events says while the District Plan permits a total of 1000 people in a recreation active zone for an event, its chosen site is more than 3ha and large enough to cater for events of the size proposed.

Access would be controlled by a comprehensive traffic management plan and implemented by a traffic management company.

That includes a proposed bus route to serve the main areas of the town.

It concludes the actual movement of vehicles associated with the festival would have less than a minor effect in terms of the ongoing operation and safety of the surrounding network, assisted by the traffic management plan.

The number of people attending an event did not necessarily influence how much noise would be generated for neighbours, the application says.

An attached noise report recommends amplified music should not exceed a measured level of 95 dBA when measured 25m from the stage, sound checks not to exceed 30 minutes and 85 dBA, and that the surrounding community be advised of the event via a letter box drop a minimum of seven days before the event.

In conclusion, Ollie Events submits that the short-term nature of the event and proposed event hours would ensure the character and amenity of the surrounding environment would be maintained and the effects on the environment would be less than minor.

Kim Hobson, in the event management plan, says the ticketed youth event would accommodate a range of New Zealand music artists and provide entertainment for a youth demographic audience. Ages would be restricted to 16 to 19-year-olds.

Submissions close at 5pm on Friday, May 17, 2024.

-Hauraki-Coromandel Post.

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