With extensive clearing needed along the corridor between Bayshore Drive and Lawson Street for the Elements resort train proposal, residents say they are concerned that ‘significant amounts of poisons such as Roundup/Glyphosate’ will be needed.
And while no development application has been submitted for the plan, two stations were approved last year by Council.
Representing Sunrise residents, Tanja Krebs told The Echo, ‘Soil along the railway corridor is very sandy with low phosphate levels (poor herbicide binding qualities) and research indicates that the poisons will leach out of the soil, into the adjoining Belongil Creek and estuary before it can be properly broken down. The rail corridor runs adjacent to homes, waterways and the wildlife corridor.’
‘In a letter received from the EPA in July last year it is clearly stated that the EPA understands that the project is being assessed under section 78c of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and that Council is the consent authority.
‘At this point, requests for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have gone unanswered from Byron Council and the Department of Transport. Byron Bay Railway Company (Elements) have indicated in an email last week that they will not be undertaking an EIA and it is, with such a statement, presumed that they will progress to fully install their proposed train service regardless of the community’s need to have an appropriate EIA.’
In response, project manager Jeremy Holmes told The Echo, ‘Byron Bay Railroad Company, the not-for-profit venture behind the Byron train, is required to undertake an initial environment report under its licence which focuses primarily on land contamination in the corridor in areas that will potentially be disturbed.
‘This will get underway shortly before any works commence. If an EIA was required for this activity it would have been undertaken at the development application stage. There has been a lot of comment about the train running on diesel fuel until its conversion to solar powered electric operation.
‘This is the same diesel fuel that every school bus, truck and 4WD in the shire and the country uses.
‘This train will reduce traffic generally, given its 100 seat capacity, thereby reducing fuel consumption overall. Figures are provided on northbyronbeachresort.com.au/rail-shuttle. Regarding weed and vegetation growth control in the corridor, we have not yet determined how this will be carried out.’.
Meanwhile, Council’s sustainable environment and economy director Shannon Burt said it is possible that Council will receive a DA ‘for works within the railway corridor to repair the existing line should such works not fall within the exempt development category under State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007.’
‘This may provide an opportunity for council to consider the noise and diesel components of the operation then. This may also require the preparation of an EIA.’