8000 festival-goers await Rainbow Serpent outcome

MORE than 8000 ticket holders for next weekend’s Rainbow Serpent Festival will find out on Monday if the event will go ahead after the organising committee submitted a second permit application yesterday.

The Pyrenees Shire Council have set a deadline of 3pm on Monday to make the final permit decision, regardless of what advice they receive from the emergency services.

The Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria all said they had received the new application yesterday, but would not comment as to what, if any, advice had been given to the council.

Shire mayor Michael O’Connor said the festival’s application was submitted in the morning and had been fast-tracked by the council.

“The permit application is essentially what was originally put in before all the changes were brought up this week,” he said. 

“The emergency services people were relatively satisfied under those conditions, but in fairness that was done in November and December and they would be making their assessment on how things currently are.”

Cr O’Connor said the risk of fire could become a factor.

“These sorts of changed conditions will weigh heavily on the CFA ... I would not pre-empt their decision, but the information has not changed from what was originally presented to them.”

The authorities had objected to the new emergency and medical services provider nominated by the organising committee, however the festival on Thursday made a late change back to their original provider, Flash Point.

Festival spokesman David Jarwood said the organising committee had done everything asked of them.

“We’ve run the festival successfully for 15 years, hopefully that works in our favour,” he said.

So far more than 9000 people have signed an online petition to save the festival.

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said the organisation had received the application and it was under consideration. She said teams were busy working on the Gippsland fires but that a verdict was likely on Monday.

Victoria Police said local police had viewed the application and already provided their advice back to council, but would not say what that advice was.

The Courier also contacted the CFA media team, however they could not respond by deadline due to the fires.