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Byron Shire
March 31, 2023

For the love of Col, please fix Byron’s roads

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Well known Byron identity Col Hadwell. Photo supplied
Well known Byron identity Col Hadwell. Photo supplied

Byron political commentator, journalist and broadcaster Jim Beatson has used part of his weekly Bay FM segment ‘Byron Buzz’ to call on the state government and shire council to work together to once and for all fix the potholed local roads.

Mr Beatson’s think-piece was motivated by the recent death of Byron cyclist Col Hadwell on the narrow, fast, windy Bangalow Road where he is believed to have hit a pothole.

He said Mr Hadwell’s accidental death ‘deserves more than the cliché “tragic”.’

‘Col had been a model Byron Shire citizen. He was engaged in supporting many community activities, was an engineer in life, loved sports like surfing and cycling for at least 55 years. And was an acclaimed bush poet,’ Mr Beatson said.

‘His death leaves messages for many. Who?

‘First, the NSW state government, who spend millions promoting our shire as a tourist destination and who, at the same time, keep Byron Shire poverty stricken. Through gifting roads to Byron Shire – and then providing no maintenance money for their upkeep. Through providing inadequate funding to offset the damage done and cleaning up after visitors to the public facilities and parks which Col loved. Through not providing Byron Shire with a slice of the registration fees from the large number of buses and trucks that punish roads in this shire of 14,000 ratepayers, and two million tourists annually. And for pushing endless housing developments’ infrastructure costs onto our tiny rate base.

‘Two: Byron Council staff and politicians for not demanding money in the form of special tourism grants, and a bed tax, from our state government for our pothole-filled roads.

‘And three, finally, to a growing number of mostly young cyclists and skateboarders, who think it’s cool to ride on our roads at night in dark clothing. And without lights.

‘But a special big thanks go out to un-named dedicated individuals who devote time and money to paint colourful circles around potholes. With warning arrows before the holes. Actions which, I expect, have been effective in reducing accidents.’


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  1. I know I will be castigated for this but is there any evidence that Col’s accident was the result of hitting a pothole?
    I can understand and sympathise with his family and friends wanting to find a cause for this tragedy but isn’t the jury still out? Nothing from the police?
    As for the opportunists who are cynically using this as the latest pothole lever, they should get better data.
    I am a well known critic of our council on many subjects but potholes are a result of over-use of roads never constructed to deal with the tourist overload and unless the state comes to the party with a tourist levy or grants the council is hamstrung.
    As someone who has been (and is still) falling of bikes, push and motor, for 75 odd years and largely getting away with it, I know that sometimes you are just unlucky.

    • Tom You state that the potholes are a result of “tourist overload”. Tourists use the roads in the main in private cars. Provided the road is not allowed to get into disrepair modern cars with their large tyres relative to their weight wear the road very little, particularly at the low speeds occasioned by traffic congestion around the Bay. Other tourist centres receive masses of visitors but maintain the roads well – the Gold Coast for example. If council aintained the roads before they need these expensive repairs, they would have no difficulty coping with both local and visitor traffic.

  2. Yes Tom. Potholes are caused by car tyres, so the holes are in tracks of the car wheels on the road.
    A cyclist rides left of those tracks.

  3. The scandal is that $3.5 million is being spent on the sunrise roundabout when there are roads all over the Shire that need dire attention. For a thousand bucks they could’ve just painted a circle on the road. Ridiculous.

  4. Well Tom instead of spending money on legal stoushes why don’t you put that money to better use and lobby the state and federal govt’s just as hard for a tourism levy?
    And what’s with the stupid bloody “Fixing Byrons Roads” signs. You guys have lost the plot.
    Paid parking…when are you going to introduce that to Bangalow, Mullum and Bruns?


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