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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Court concludes over resident and council bypass dispute

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Ballina Shire Council meeting wrap-up

The last Ballina meeting was another bruising encounter for some councillors, though there were several unanimous decisions too.

The Land and Environment Court is set to decide whether to uphold the controversial Byron Bay bypass route.
The Land and Environment Court is set to decide whether to uphold the controversial Byron Bay bypass route.

The NSW Land and Environment Court will soon be passing judgment over Butler Street residents claim against council regarding process around the planned Byron Bay bypass.

With proceedings finishing last week, both parties appear optimistic.

Byron Shire Council’s legal services co-ordinator, Ralph James, said he was pleased with the strength and presentation of Council’s case.

‘Part of the process included a conciliation meeting.  However, the parties could not reach agreement and therefore the matter progressed to this week’s court hearing,’ he said.

Council General Manager, Ken Gainger, said that the bypass was urgently needed to address growing congestion on Ewingsdale Road caused by growing tourist numbers which are now at two million per year, and increasing local traffic trying to exit Byron to travel north on the new Pacific Motorway.

Meanwhile Butler Street Community Network’s Paul Jones told Echonetdaily, ‘I think we certainly held our ground at the hearing and demonstrated serious concerns about due process, integrity and the poor quality of Council’s work.’

‘There was no technical knockout and the case was fully aired.’

‘It remains to be seen how the court balances evidence and two complex legal arguments regarding the court’s jurisdiction and the application of BioBanking legislation concerning offsets to impacts in the protected SEPP 14 Wetlands.

‘Commissioner O’Neill reserved her judgement and we expect it may be as much as six to eight weeks before a decision is handed down.’

 

 


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