The rail corridor that runs from the Shirley Street level crossing to the Byron Bay Station at The Railway Friendly Bar will soon be under council management and developed as part of the town centre masterplan activation project.
The Byron Bay Railroad Company (BBRC), who will soon run a train service between Bayshore Drive and a new platform behind Simmos Caltex Service Station, say they ‘do not currently have a use for the corridor.’
The news has been welcomed by mayor Simon Richardson, who told The Echo, ‘Getting access and control of the corridor in this area can allow us to get the fences down, connect town to Butler Street, create a new, passive and open recreation and public space and put some love into what has long been a divider of the town.
‘It will also allow for the return of mass transport when the time is right.’
A 2014 licence agreement with Transport for NSW allows BBRC to operate trains within the corridor between Bayshore Drive and the Byron Bay station, according to development director Jeremy Holmes. The new platform just short of the Shirley Street crossing was built to alleviate ‘the need to stop traffic at this important town entry point.’
Byron Bay Town Centre Committee chair Chris Hanley said, ‘On behalf of the Byron Bay Town Centre Committee we want to thank Byron Bay Railroad Company for giving the licence of this 2.5-acre parcel of land to the council and community so it can be beautified.’
‘Our group and the community will be the beneficiaries of this generosity’.
Holmes says, ‘Byron Bay Railroad Company do not currently have a use for the corridor south of the Shirley Street crossing, and we would like to see Byron Council make use of it for community purposes, being a key gateway site into town’.
Retained by govt
‘At the request of BBRC and Byron Shire Council, Transport for NSW will license this rail corridor area to Byron Shire Council for the proposed project. Transport for NSW will however retain the right to resume the area for the purposes of operating trains in the future.’
Mayor Richardson added, ‘I am thrilled with the outcome of this collaboration between council, business and community. Only by open communication and smart resource allocation can we achieve the best for our shire.’
‘Hats off to Byron Bay Railroad Company for getting this ball rolling’.
Yeah . . . but IN THE MEANTIME, put in a TEMPORARY ROAD leading to the co struction site at the Woolworth construction site. Get all that heavy traffic off Johnson. Do it NOW.
Make a free carpark for business workers we need it badly.
A “temporary” road, a free car park, NSW Farmers have told me they are working on a plan to handover disused rail land to adjacent farmers. The sharks are circling around the corridor land – and they will continue to do so until someone has the sense to lay down a cycle path along it – a linear use of the corridor that does not allow for its breakup, protected by an amendment act that only allows the government to close the rail service for a rail trail.
This article has been posted on the Tramlink Facebook site as “Byron Shire Council again shows a positive initiative”. That is an interesting spin when we read “The news has been welcomed by mayor Simon Richardson”. Surely it is a clear message that the State Government is not interested in funding rail for the foreseeable future. So why does Richardson’s Byron Line study have the Council asking Tamara Smith to lobby for state government funding for any recommended rail service? And why would the state government want to spend $80m funding to restore the line from Bangalow to Billinudgel to provide what are in effect two bus services. If the people of the Byron Shire think that is a priority shouldn’t they be paying the increased rates to pay for it – $1,000 a year over ten years should cover the line cost. I have put these question to the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group on their Facebook site , with the recent census data showing other areas away from the rail corridor like Ballina Shire and the coastal Tweed have more non-car owning households and a far higher number and percentage of public transport dependnat over 70s than does Byron or Lismore LGAs. Like the Tramlink Facebook site their only response is to delete critical commentary, just as they advised that those arguing for buses and a rail trail instead of the train were not welcome at its recent Murwillumbah forum. How ironic that censorship of alternative viewpoints is alive and well in the Northern Rivers.