By Jackson Russell
Community feedback is being sought by Mitchell Shire Council on a planning permit amendment application by Tallarook’s Our Friends Farm Environment and Entertainment Park.
The amendments would adjust the range of dates the venue can host events over Labour Day weekend, extend the hours of operation and change the noise restriction definitions.
The current permit defines Labour Day weekend as March 9 to 12 but as Labour Day falls on the first Monday of March, Our Friends Farm would like the permit to allow events on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labour Day.
Current hours of operation restrict all types of music to the hours of 10am and 1am the following morning. The applicant is looking to extend the hours to 10am to 1.30am Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3am from Friday to Sunday, on Public Holidays and New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day for ‘live and amplified music’.
As the current permit restricts all music, including personal speakers at camp sites, the applicant says the requirement is excessive and hard to patrol, and extending the hours would better suit event programming and operational requirements.
The changes to noise restrictions state ‘emissions must comply with the relevant State Environment Protection Policies at all times, with permissible noise levels determined from those policies to the satisfaction of the Environmental Protection Agency’.
Our Friends Farm currently hosts four festivals a year, New Years Evie in January, Boogie Festival over Easter, Chi Wow Wah Town over Melbourne Cup weekend and the newly-added Shabliss Family Festival over the March Labour Day weekend.
In a letter to Tallarook residents, Our Friends Farm director Tanya El-Gamal said the application was the first of two that would allow the venue to expand its operations to include a function centre, events, a campground including new accommodation, leisure and recreation including a day spa.
“It would, in fact, be extremely fruitful for the local community by providing employment, economic growth and opportunities for youth and community members to engage in positive activity,” she said.
Ms El-Gamal said she hoped the venue would host weddings, group camping weekends, boutique cultural events, community events, fundraisers, markets, moonlight cinema nights, food and wine festivals, creative and wellbeing community programs, yoga and day spa retreats in the future.
“It is our mission to ensure that if you’re not at the park enjoying yourself, you won’t know an event or function is taking place,” she said.
“The majority of outdoor events at the park will be not audible to surrounding residents with the exception of Boogie Festival at Easter which will be slightly audible.
“Extensive sound testing during the past six events has provided the data and understanding of the sound technology required to not impact on the neighbours yet still put on a great show for the attendees.
“This means ongoing outdoor events held at the park will not cause any negative affect to surrounding properties.”
The proposed amendments can be viewed at Seymour Customer and Library Service Centre at 125 Anzac Avenue, Seymour or online at mitchellshire.vic.gov.au under Planning and Building – Planning Services. Submissions are encouraged by November 11.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm said council knew there had been concern from the community in the past regarding the venue.
“There is an opportunity for our community to have an input into the proposed changes to the music festival. Council will also work with the organisers in an effort to bring about the best possible outcomes in assisting with this event,” he said.