It doesn’t make sense for Byron Shire Council to be committing $50,000 to doing a traffic study to look at the impact of the so-called Ewingsdale ‘seniors’ development that has not even been approved yet.
The developers, not ratepayers, should pay for that study, especially since the community resoundingly rejects that development and it was already recommended against by council staff and the local office of the Department of Planning.
These piecemeal approaches to traffic planning are ridiculous. We have $200,000 being committed to an extra lane on Shirley Street; we have the Butler Street bypass that council is pushing while ignoring alternatives such as the rail corridor and yet there is no plan to properly assess exactly what volume of traffic would be flowing along this bypass or into town.
That’s $250,000 that we could use to actually plan properly for the reality of what will be happening with Byron’s traffic.
The biggest issue is the traffic that will be generated by West Byron. The developers’ traffic report that the minister relied on, apart from being seriously flawed in its methodology, only assessed for 860 dwellings.
The minister’s rezoning was for almost double that at 1,500 dwellings with further divisions down to 150 square metres, so potentially over 2,000 dwellings.
Why are we looking at a bypass that doesn’t account for that massive inflow of traffic and why isn’t council assessing all the future traffic?
Is it because we know that the Butler Street bypass will do almost nothing to ameliorate such a massive traffic volume and that Don Page’s ‘gift’ of $10 million for a useless bypass will be taken away if we don’t do the bypass the Nats want?
The only real picture of Byron’s future traffic that we are likely to get is the view from our car as we sit in a queue into town or look for a park at the beach. Time to wonder ‘what the hell were they thinking?’
Cate Coorey, president Byron Residents’ Group