Butler Street bus interchange to be built in 2018
Byron market stallholders are up in arms over what they say is a lack of engagement or articulated plans for Butler Street Reserve after Byron Shire Council announced – on behalf of the state government – that a bus interchange will be built on the location.
A press release on Monday from council GM Ken Gainger says it will be significant for the community, ‘because it will take large passenger buses out of Jonson Street, a key target in the Byron Bay Masterplan, which is aimed at progressively making the town centre more pedestrian and cycle friendly.’
While no plans or costings were provided, Gainger says the project will be undertaken by Transport for NSW, who are ‘developing plans which will be shared with the community when they are completed.’
Gainger says the Masterplan identified improved pedestrian access and movement as priorities, ‘and this involves getting traffic out of the central business area and reclaiming it for locals and visitors.’
He says, ‘Council sees the markets as valuable contributors to the economic and social fabric of the Byron Shire and is committed to finding alternative venues for them while the bus interchange is being built.’
Meetings with market operators and stallholders have been held, he says, ‘and we are working together to activate the rail corridor and surrounding areas as potential interim market venues.’
But stallholder representative Gyan Moyes is yet to be convinced; he said, ‘the only proposal from council is spreading the market over the area of the disused railway tracks, adjacent car park, Railway Park, the carpark behind The Railway Hotel and more unspecified areas on the main streets of Byron.’
He said, ‘The proposal lacks any permanence, as most of the area will remain a transport corridor and as such it can be reclaimed at any time in future.’ Other problems with the plan, he said, include uneven ground, exposure to sun and heat along the tracks and inadequate stallholder access that would contribute to traffic gridlock.’
Mr Moyes continued, ‘We believe that Butler Street should be retained as the market grounds for the community and the farmers markets and as a valuable recreational space for the growing town.
‘We value the Butler Street Reserve as a place that has provided many with sustainable incomes for decades, contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of Byron Bay’.
Remarkably, the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan has been amended to include plans for a Butler Street bus interchange (page 90). This was confirmed by council staff.
Mr Gainger added that moving the bus interchange that is currently on Jonson Street will reduce the number of large vehicles in town. ‘Council has exciting plans to activate the Railway Park precinct, Byron Street and the nearby rail corridor.’