24.3 C
Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Mayor rules out Byron rail corridor as bypass option

Latest News

My dear friend, Philip Rubinstein 1934–2021

I first met Phil on a rain-soaked day outside my house in Brunswick Terrace, Mullum. It was an accidental encounter, but we soon got stuck into a conversation about the parlous state of Australian universities.

Other News

Sing Lisa Sing

Jo Faith, Newtown How very distressing is the recent story of beautiful singer Lisa Hunt. She followed protocol, paid the...

Cartoon of the week – 3 March, 2021

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.

Lifting the lid on plans to build a retirement village in Ewingsdale

The letter sent to the residents of Ewingsdale last year by holiday park owner Ingenia seemed fairly innocuous at first glance...

International Women’s Day kerfuffle at Ballina

One councillor walked out of Ballina Council's recent meeting during an emotional discussion about speakers at an upcoming IWD event.

Heritage Bruns?

David Kolb, Brunswick Head When Mathew O’Reilly spoke to Council regarding heritage listing for parts of Brunswick Heads he was quoted...

FB censorship

Dean Jefferys, Mullumbimby I feel concerned about the level of censorship on FB, Instagram, YouTube, MSM, local online groups and elsewhere...

Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson has rejected calls to use the rail corridor in Byron Bay as a road bypass of the town, saying it was an unlikely option.

Cr Richardson says the disused corridor should be protected for the future use of rail, and changing its status would increase the temptation for governments to privatise it.

Community calls for the much needed bypass to ease congestion on the northerly entrance to the town have increased since plans for the proposed West Byron subdivision were announced.

But Cr Richardson said  Transport for NSW (TfNSW), the owner of the rail asset, and its agent John Holland Rail, which has the contract for property management, have confirmed that an Act of Parliament was needed to remove the status of the rail corridor.

‘Apparently the rail corridor is protected by legislation for the exclusive use of rail, regardless if the corridor is used or not,’ he said.

‘The Act would need to be changed to first remove the protected status, which in turn may allow other uses for the land to be considered, and then subject to development and agency approvals etc.

‘This however could see the rail corridor open up to many potential uses, not just transport purposes, and would presumably also attract market rates whether for lease or sale.

‘As it is located in Byron Bay, it would likely be considered high value real estate,’ he said.

‘Even if the Act was changed to allow other transport purposes, minimum widths and standards would still apply.’

Cr Richardson said he had been advised that as the rail corridor width varies greatly in Byron Bay (and across the shire), it was ‘unlikely a single, continuous lineal, multi-modal transport corridor is possible that could accommodate rail, a bike/pedestrian shared path and a road.

‘Put simply, in most locations the width of the rail corridor would not allow multiple uses to co-exist.

‘However, Council is very keen to ensure all stones have been turned to investigate the best bypass route option. We will meet with the Grab the Rail Group to further investigate their ideas,’ he said.

The mayor also noted that Council and the community were waiting on the findings of the state government rail trail report.

He said the consultant engaged for the report had raised the issue of co-existence with Council and other interested stakeholders.

‘The current Byron Bay bypass alignment, west of the rail corridor, does not rule out the potential return of rail services, whereas a declared change of use within the rail corridor would,’ Cr Richardson said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Surprising comments for our Mayor who comes from Melbourne where shred transit corridors tram/car/light rail are everywhere and there have been precedents where State rail has established a Crown Reserve over closed rail corridors to maintain control of the assets future use or community use. For a Mayor claiming to be promoting a non risk adverse ‘can do’ culture within his Council this timidity in the face of obvious benefits to the community now is puzzling.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Ben Hamilton riding for kids with cancer

Ballina man Ben Hamilton is riding his bike 500km to help young kids with cancer.

Brunswick Heads marina berths to increase

Questions remain unanswered around a press release from Nationals MLC Ben Franklin’s office regarding a $2.8 million upgrade to the Brunswick Heads boat harbour. According...

Helping Our Kids, help our kids

The Lismore Samson Fitness Challenge kicks off tonight in Lismore with the express aim of raising much-needed funds for the Our Kids charity.

Nimbin medicinal cannabis event, March 27

Two experienced medical cannabis doctors and a retired magistrate who is passionate about changing the drug driving rules will take part in the MEDICAN gathering in Nimbin.