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February 28, 2021

West Byron: a major impact

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We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Mr Murray accuses me of misrepresenting the proposed West Byron development and urges people to rely on the developers’ claims (Letters, January 21).

Rather than the West Byron suburb being for the claimed 850 dwellings, housing 1,000 people, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure now admits it is for up to 1,100 houses. At current occupancy rates of 2.55 people per dwelling this represents an increase of 2,800 people to the 10,000 currently residing in Byron Bay and Suffolk Park.

This represents a major impact on Byron Bay’s already stressed infrastructure.

The West Byron traffic study is based on a maximum of 856 houses rather than the 1,100 now proposed, and does not account for customers or deliveries to the numerous shops and businesses proposed. Rather than the claimed eight per cent increase in traffic using Ewingsdale Road to enter town on a weekday, the increase in vehicles using Ewingsdale Road is likely to be over 20 per cent.

The increased congestion due to increased traffic will be worsened by reduced speed limits, two additional roundabouts, pedestrian crossings, and incoming traffic having to give way to traffic from West Byron. The traffic study maintains, ‘If nothing is changed then an intolerable, and unsafe, traffic environment will develop in the near future – even without the West Byron Development proceeding.’ How much worse will it be with West Byron?

The assessment of the impact of the West Byron proposal is predicated upon a town centre bypass being in place. It does not assess the consequences of the development without this bypass, yet this is what is being proposed.

Any benefit of the proposed bypass in alleviating traffic congestion in the town centre will be effectively neutralised by the increased traffic from West Byron.

As has been repeatedly stated in report after report since the mid 1990s, no development of west Byron should be allowed until after a solution to the traffic congestion has been implemented.

Remember you only have until the end of this month to have your say on the West Byron suburb.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay


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  1. Not only should we consider the traffic and population issues concerning conventional development of West Byron, we should remember that there are stormwater/floodwater development and land and marine wildlife issues which have been overlooked since 2007. Greater residential development of Ewingsdale area is already underway. The West Byron lands themselves are more suited for alternative developments (extract and link to research paper below).

    “This paper traces an evolution that has occurred over the past 20 years or so in relation
    to strategies used to rehabilitate wetlands and to address the impacts of acid sulfate
    and related pollution. During that period, there has been increasing recognition of the
    limitations imposed on rehabilitation projects by existing agricultural land uses.
    Full restoration often requires significant hydrological change, to a degree that involves
    land use change, and in order to achieve that, changes in land tenure.

    The (requirements for success ) include:
    1. the need to acquire the entire backswamp or hydrologic unit;
    2. guaranteed funding over a realistic time frame and linked toregional
    strategic assessment;
    3. proximity to an existing reserve;
    4. that the project be undertaken as
    core business by a public authority with dedicated staff, including a project manager; a
    cooperative and engaged local authority, generally the local council;
    5. a simplified approvals process; and
    6. a compelling reason to change the existing management of the project area, such as
    international legal obligations or concerns in relation to
    human health.
    7. The final, and perhaps the most fundamental ingredient required for
    rehabilitation projects is dedicated and capable people – both within the organisations
    involved, and in the broader community – to bring the concepts to fruition, and without which, nothing would ever happen.

    Link to paper here

  2. Get the sewerage connected to the McEttigans Lane area of Ewingsdale and subdivide the existing housing lots.This will alleviate the housing shortage and save the environment (from leaking and faulty septic tanks) .The new hospital will require connection to the West Byron Sewerage plant before it can proceed.


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