Residents of Byron Bay’s Butler Street who would be affected by a town bypass say they are alarmed by Byron Shire Council’s detailed plans for the proposal, which was presented to the public at last week’s Farmers Market.
Despite advice from the NSW planning and environment department to consider alternatives, and specifically the rail corridor route, Council staff have rejected the idea, saying it was not possible.
The decision comes despite Council’s website claiming that its Environmental Impact Study Statement (IESS), ‘must assess potential impacts of [alternative routes, including land within the existing rail corridor] in the proposal.’
Council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, told The Echo the draft bypass concept plans were based on the route identified within the Preferred Route Report (PRR) that was completed at the end of 2014.
‘A key factor in any feasibility assessment is land ownership. Council does not own the rail corridor land.’
Mr Holloway also reconfirmed that the proposed bypass will not solve all of Byron Bay’s traffic problems, with traffic studies showing ‘that up to 20 per cent of traffic will potentially use the new thoroughfare.’
‘However, this 20 per cent are most likely to be locals travelling from one side of town to the other.’
Additionally, Butler Street residents have pointed to a 2001 environmental impact study (EIS) which indicates such a route would only provide relief for ten years.
Good for ten years
The coalition government have announced $10.5m to help fund the project, which would also be constructed through wetlands and come out at the southern end of Jonson Street at Mitre Ten.
The Echo asked the planning department for comment on whether their advice to Council is binding but was instead referred to RMS.