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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Roundup concerns over rail clearing

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Residents are concerned that Roundup will be used to control weeds to make way for a train to run from Elements Resort . Photo: Shutterstock
Residents are concerned that Roundup will be used to control weeds to make way for a train to run from Elements Resort . Photo: Shutterstock

With extensive clearing needed along the corridor between Bayshore Drive and Lawson Street for the Elements resort train proposal, residents say they are concerned that ‘significant amounts of poisons such as Roundup/Glyphosate’ will be needed.

And while no development application has been submitted for the plan, two stations were approved last year by Council.

Representing Sunrise residents, Tanja Krebs told The Echo, ‘Soil along the railway corridor is very sandy with low phosphate levels (poor herbicide binding qualities) and research indicates that the poisons will leach out of the soil, into the adjoining Belongil Creek and estuary before it can be properly broken down. The rail corridor runs adjacent to homes, waterways and the wildlife corridor.’

‘In a letter received from the EPA in July last year it is clearly stated that the EPA understands that the project is being assessed under section 78c of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and that Council is the consent authority.

‘At this point, requests for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have gone unanswered from Byron Council and the Department of Transport. Byron Bay Railway Company (Elements) have indicated in an email last week that they will not be undertaking an EIA and it is, with such a statement, presumed that they will progress to fully install their proposed train service regardless of the community’s need to have an appropriate EIA.’

Elements reply

In response, project manager Jeremy Holmes told The Echo, ‘Byron Bay Railroad Company, the not-for-profit venture behind the Byron train, is required to undertake an initial environment report under its licence which focuses primarily on land contamination in the corridor in areas that will potentially be disturbed.

‘This will get underway shortly before any works commence. If an EIA was required for this activity it would have been undertaken at the development application stage. There has been a lot of comment about the train running on diesel fuel until its conversion to solar powered electric operation.

‘This is the same diesel fuel that every school bus, truck and 4WD in the shire and the country uses.

‘This train will reduce traffic generally, given its 100 seat capacity, thereby reducing fuel consumption overall. Figures are provided on northbyronbeachresort.com.au/rail-shuttle. Regarding weed and vegetation growth control in the corridor, we have not yet determined how this will be carried out.’.

Meanwhile, Council’s sustainable environment and economy director Shannon Burt said it is possible that Council will receive a DA ‘for works within the railway corridor to repair the existing line should such works not fall within the exempt development category under State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007.’

‘This may provide an opportunity for council to consider the noise and diesel components of the operation then. This may also require the preparation of an EIA.’


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  1. Surely a combined effort with Elements staff, council outdoor crew and volunteers on brush cutters can be a good start in reducing the overgrowth. Then use some non toxic spray to maintain.

    If the rail corridor is still under the control of State Rail then they are negligent in their maintenance of this land.

    The streets and verges in Byron are weed infested and over the past few years Council does nothing to control the weeds in the drain ditches on corners of Bayshore and Banksia Drives, which is adjacent to their depot.

    With the weeds, broken railings and rubbish making it an eyesore this should be a priority for Council in maintaining the industrial estate area. A letter to Council is underway.

    • Well Thelma, I agree with all you say.
      And if there was such a thing as “non Toxic” weedicide, it would be a wonderful world. Back in the real world where, State Rail of course, always used arsenic or 245t (agent orange ). I’m sure Byron Council will find,as per your request,something toxic enough to kill everything in the areas you enumerate.
      Good luck with your health, G”)

  2. Don’t these people realise that the railway corridor is still being sprayed with Glyphosate even though there is no trains on it. Have a look around. I’ve seen them spraying it at Bangalow, not far from people’s houses. All along the back of the Byron Railway Station in the middle of town it looks like it has been sprayed. Drive along Gulgan Rd to Mullumbimby and guess what – the local Council have sprayed chemicals all along the road side.
    Why isn’t anyone saying anything about this? The Elements train is not the issue here – it is that these chemicals should stop being used by John Holland and local councils etc.
    The Elements resort is supposed to be eco-friendly so i reckon they would be open to talking about using steam or something else more natural !

  3. The Byron/Brunswick Chemical Free Volunteers have been working regularly every month, hand removing unwanted plants along side the sea shore.

    Another volunteer Herbicide free group has formed in Byron Bay itself.

    The Huonbrook Herbicide Free volunteers work regularly to prevent Council’s contractors spraying the roadside with Round-up along with opposing, vehemently, Wilson Creek landcare poisoning coral trees next to running water.

    Its up to us in the long run. Show by example and write, e mail and distribute independent ( not funded by the multi national chemical companies) studies that many countries are heeding, by withdrawing Glyhosate ( Round-up) from poisoning their water, soil,,air and food. We also have to keep up with the herbicides that some are replacing Round-up with.

    If we vote for the environment that is where our responsibility begins.

  4. What is with the obbsesion with round up in tne byron shire you see unsighlty evidence of it everywhere some slacker hanging out of the ute spraying freely. …ever heard of man power .. We talk about youth unemployment and unemployment of all kinds round up does not solve weed control by any means its back in a month or two …round up is a lazy way ..so much for the green council

  5. Jeremy Holmes says that diesel trains are no different than cars busses etc. He fails to mention that presently there are NO cars, busses or any other such traffic on the Byron railway tracks… We the residents of sunrise would rather leave it that way. To make claims that the ‘train’ will take traffic off the Ewingsdale road is ridiculous. Nobody is going to WALK to the station & back again to claim their cars wherever the car parks are placed.Bayshore Drive will be lined with cars that are not there now. Just because Roundup is used in various parts of the shire, does not make it OK & anybody who thinks it is, has probably ingested quite a bit of it already. Elements has used loopholes to get it’s way through every crack. Let it not get away with what is basically Michael Flannery’s toy train folly.


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