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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

‘Follow the money’ on bypass plan

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Oliver Dunne’s bypass ramble (Echo, March 11) is correct on some points but dead wrong on others. A few facts may help.

The 1993 EIS was abandoned and superseded by one published in April 2001. In March 2002 Council resolved that this concept be ‘split’ or ‘staged’ to first allow construction of the ’mini-bypass’ (which the late Tony Narracott would playfully refer to as the ‘Staples bypass’). This idea was suggested to me by John Wieley in 1998.

Traffic origin/destination studies (see Vietch Lister, MR545 Study) have conclusively shown that most motorists want to access the town centre, not bypass it. The Butler Street proposal would have virtually no observable effect on queuing at peak times in Shirley Street, nor relieve pressure on the crucial Lawson/Jonson Street roundabout. Funding, rather than being ‘well underway’ is virtually non-existent (unless one relies on politicians’ promises).

If convincing Council to pursue a promising alternative to a prohibitively expensive, controversial project is ‘sabotage’, then I stand guilty. A least, Oliver, you have refrained from the savage personal invective others have directed at me over this issue, and you’re right that Council would be unwise to rely on ageing documentation.

The land bought by the Dunne Council for road access in the late 80s next to Mitre 10 has been encumbered with easements and parking agreements which effectively render it useless for road access. There is little nexus between the West Byron development and the Butler Street bypass as most traffic generated from West Byron will, again, want to access the town centre.

Which begs the question – why has a major by-pass received such support? I suggest it’s really about land development along a new access. There would presumably be a few big winners. Old adage – follow the money.

Richard Staples, Talofa

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