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Byron Shire
May 16, 2022

Byron Line heading down the toilet

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Tim Shanasy, Byron Bay.

Byron mayor Simon Richardson’s The Byron Line, is a $200,000 dream at ratepayers expense. It’s like flushing our $200,000 down the toilet in a futile attempt to attract a billionaire to willingly sink vast amounts of his or her wealth into our derelict rail corridor, which is owned and controlled by the NSW government.

I ask you dear reader, who on earth would invest vast sums into someone else’s property, under someone else’s terms? The Byron Line dream is for our $200,000 to be spent on a successful tenderer to only do an evaluation study, that only suggests how much it may cost for any philanthropist to construct and operate a commercial tourist rail service between Bangalow and Billinudgel!

This service must generate so much profit that it not only pays for itself but also funds an adjoining rail trail alongside the currently derelict rail line. And where this is not possible, due to insufficient width, like tunnels, steep cuttings, steep raised slopes, and bridges etc., to fund the building of alternative routes!

You may well think that realising The Byron Line dream, is not in the slightest bit likely to eventuate, regardless of how much of our ratepayers’ money is flushed down the mayor’s toilet. You may well ask, why on earth didn’t the mayor think this through within a few minutes of awakening from this dream.

Well, I’ve been pondering this since the announcement of The Byron Line dream. I think it’s got nothing to do with the best outcome of our corridor, but about feeding the dreams of his loyal, ongoing voters. What do you think? And another glaring angle of mismanagement is that instead of throwing insult to ratepayers by throwing away their hard-earned annual contributions, the mayor instead should have been applying for funds from the NSW $300 million Regional Growth – Environment & Tourism Fund. Why hasn’t he been trying to bring money into our Shire, instead of throwing it away?

 


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Tim, I agree the rail thing is a big big con job designed to glorify particular people at rate payers expense. The only thing I don’t agree with is your last line “Why hasn’t he been trying to bring money into our Shire, instead of throwing it away?”. He is bringing lots of $ into the shire by making ratepayers pay huge rate increases, although I guess this is really just internally shifting it from our pockets to council’s waste basket.

    When will the ratepayers of Byron Shire recognize that this council and its mayor are not capable of doing the job they were elected to do and get rid of them. Look at the way they have handled [OR DIDN’T] the flooding in the north of the shire. Truly disgraceful!

    • Wayne Nobody has ever suggested there would be a direct return from the rail trail. The benefits are outlined in the feasibility study. There are personal benefits to users of the trail and in that regard they are akin to the benefits that come from a park or a walking trail – recreational benefits that are difficult to provide on a cost recovery basis but still worthwhile. But the main justification is from the estimated $200+ a day that some tens of thousand of user s will spend. The nature of cycle tourism is that much of that money will be spent at small local food and accommodation places scattered along the trail. Your link to the Gippsland Star is an interesting one. Plainly it outlines local issues with the rail trail group there, but there appears to be no reluctance by Council there to take on the maintenance of the trail. Why would there be when Council there can see first hand the economic benefits rail trail tourism has brought to an area that has faced high unemployment following the a long decline of its forestry and agricultural work (sounds familiar?).

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