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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Welcome to Byron – the Pothole Shire

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Ian Hamilton, Pothole Park (aka Suffolk Park).

Further to Luke Ingram’s enlightening letter Byron’s Bloody Roads, his comment on the state of the roads in the Ocean Shores, Mullum, and Brunswick areas, is, as he is probably aware, only part of the serious state of our roads in the majority of Byron Shire.

Potholes abound in the Industrial Estate, many parts of Byron, country roads and Pothole Park (still mostly known as Suffolk Park).

We have been fortunate enough over the last few years to have driven around over 25 different countries around the world, and, with the exception of Albania, which is on nobodies Bucket List, we did not find one area as bad as our beloved Byron Shire.

It is a national disgrace and having motor-homed twice around this truly amazing country, including back roads, and Aboriginal communities, Byron Shire is by far, the worst of the worst.

Blame the tourists I have heard said. Bullshit. Tourists don’t visit many of the above places and if you visit the Gold Coast, where many more millions go every year, there isn’t a pothole in site.

Maybe we should hold a Pothole Competition, discovering the worst pothole infected suburbs of the shire. Or even the street with the most potholes. Winner gets their street repaired first.

Mind you, the current method of repairs is comparable to a band aid on a gaping wound . Interestingly, all the shires around us make our roads an embarrassment.

Many of our roads were obviously made in an inferior manner, which unfortunately provides a bigger headache for council.

So pester Ken Grainger (who hasn’t yet organised a way of replying to disgruntled ratepayers) or the very approachable Head of Roads, Tony Nash a most pleasant man with a mountain of problems. Lets hit our council hard with complaints and get these disgraceful roads fixed and fixed to an acceptable standard.

Our precious shire children can be seen playing and cycling in these disgraceful roads.

They are an accident waiting to happen and although it is a frightening thought, maybe that’s what it will take, until something is done.

Council have maintained that it is all a question of funding.

I am not the first to point out the gross mismanagement of money in years gone by.

Outrageous and unnecessary legal fees that councillors should be ashamed of is just one of our past financial woes.

Let’s get our priorities right Any civilised society deserves good infrastructure and this council is not providing it

Let them know it.

 


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Over four million tourists per year, the third largest number after Sydney and Melbourne, visit the Northern Rivers region, and two million visit Byron. Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, where there’s a vast network of rail services, the only way people can get here is by road. Byron has only 15,000 ratepayers and around thirty percent of our rates go on providing infrastructure and cleaning up after these people. There’s not much left to fix potholes.

    The state government spends millions promoting tourism in Byron, but nothing on the infrastructure needed to cope with the huge numbers coming here. Unless the state government contributes more for our infrastructure the burden on ratepayers will increase.

    • Louise Tourist,s even in the numbers you provide remain a smaller proportion of all traffic and the modern private cars they use do not do significant damage to roads, unless the road has been allowed to break up. It will never be practicable to have rail services that would relieve traffic on the back roads of your Shire; the main roads that parallel the rail corridor are not badly potholed. As I have repeatedly written, there is no evidence to support the idea that a rail service will take more than a few cars off the road. The heavy cost of reinstating and then subsidizing train services would simply be a drain on the transport budget which would necessarily be at the expense of even more bus services. It would be beneficial if we followed the European model and increased fuel taxes to enable governments and councils to maintain roads properly,but I do note that even with the limited resources they all have other rural councils manage these things better. This is a problem mainly caused by vehicles from and in your Shire and one which a train will not help.

      • Peter Hatfield, Well I can see a 4 lane road ‘a-happening’ into Byron Bay & extra lanes down the highway as this northern region is the fastest growing area of NSW outside Sydney. Even traffic from the airports have to travel the roads & the roads are not going to cope so don’t be surprised for those road expansions not too far into the future. That ‘terrible’ train service actually brought in $2m per annum & cost $11m to run. It was a political decision only, no concern for people at all. Michael Costa’s hurried closure said a lot of ‘facts’ that were disputed. What a joke, the City of Lismore devoid of a train service! Now, what a negative state of affairs that has been and is!

        • Jillian The only reason the train service brought in some revenue was that the government was not investing in necessary maintenance, leading to its closure – any business can appear to be profitable if you run it into the ground. Rail services overall in NSW require subsidies, which can be justifiable in dense populations because of the externalities of car use – point of use pollution and the impact of cars in making our cites ever larger for example – but those are not relevant in a semi rural area like ours. For the same outlay any rail service would do less frequently what buses already do – and since the bus can be routed past important destinations like Byron hospital, not as usefully as the bus can. The rail service you refer to was a long distance one and the number of passengers carried was a small percentage of all traffic. The impact on the road of those passengers being carried by bus or car is nothing, and the roads that run parallel with the line are all in good conditions. Given that well over 90% of journeys are made by car I expect you are right that at some stage Ewingsdale Road would be reduplicated and I would suggest if it was the buses and multiple-passenger cars be given a priority lane for peak periods – this works well in other places that use buses and have some congestion issues like Canberra. It is difficult to imagine why you would add lanes to the highway at this stage – the traffic flows very well. Finally can I note that Lismore is just 35 minutes on Trainlink’s own bus to Casino and there are buses that will take you wherever the train went. If the rail its supporters had focused on people and their transport needs instead of the train, Lismore and other towns could be benefiting form the better bus service announced in the budget. Poor bus service – blame Toots!

  2. I have lived in Byron Shire for 45 years, knowing the roads like the proverbial back of my hand.
    The majority of pot holes are predictable recalcitrant lifers. This is mostly down to the contractor repairs being inadequate. Even third world countries have a better grasp of an adequate repair job.
    IE : SWEEP OUT all loose stones/ gravel & water. Spray clean hole with tar emulsion. THEN fill with ready mix & top off with fine gravel.
    Oh yeah if you are a motorcyclist WATCH OUT for the fine gravel prresently being used. It is like riding on marbles that will send you for a spill.

  3. There are many options and solutions to financing the disgraceful pothole situation but nothing has changed for at least 2 years.
    Overseas popular tourist places charge tourists a small accommodation tax about $1 per person which is collected by the accommodation establishment and paid to the local council for maintaining the tourist area to an acceptable level of cleanliness and infrastructure.
    Who do we write to Ian to submit a formal compliant and tell them the impact of the state of the roads?

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