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.’