The Greens’ NSW transport spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi and Ballina MP Tamara Smith are calling on the NSW Government to urgently stop the sale of rail corridor land to property developers in Byron Bay.
Residents have just one day left to make submissions on the development application, which was lodged with Byron Shire Council by developer Wollongbar Properties, and has been on exhibition over the holiday period.
It covers a 611sqm parcel of railway land behind the Wollongbar Motel on Shirley Street in Byron Bay, which the proponent plans to buy from Transport for NSW.
Dr Faruqi said the Government ‘must immediately stop any sale of rail corridor land in Byron.’
‘It’s really concerning that part of the corridor is being sold off just for the sake of private developers building luxury apartments,’ she said.
Act of parliament
‘I have written to the minister urgently seeking clarification about how rail corridor land can be sold off without the required Act of Parliament. Are they trying to find a roundabout way of selling off precious public transport land? The government must stop the sale and undermining of this rail corridor.
‘People of the North Coast have been campaigning for a real public transport solution since the Labor Government closed the Casino-Murwillumbah line nearly 14 years ago. Keeping the rail corridor in public hands and restoration of regional rail services must be the priority, not private luxury apartment complexes,’ Dr Faruqi said.
Ballina MP Tamara Smith agreed that keeping the rail corridors in the region in public hands was ‘vital’.
‘These spaces belong to the community and are common land corridors for transport and public use – they ought never be sold off to developers. Once you start down that path there is no going back.
‘Our rail corridors are public places and public spaces that should never be privatised because they belong to the community in perpetuity,’ she said.