Mick Malloy, Suffolk Park
Some years ago large chains such as Bunnings, Spotlight and Harvey Norman investigated the northern rivers region with the view to expanding their operations.
Rather than piggyback off Byron, these masters of the feasibility study decided to set up shop in nearby Ballina, a town of no repute whatsoever. So why not Byron?
Well, it would have been a no-brainer given Byron lacked both the infrastructure and potential for population growth to justify the investment. For the benefit of our West Byron DA proponents, Byron can’t really expand too much because of its propensity to sink in wet weather.
The giveaway is seawater going up your downpipe during a downpour. You need to understand that we live in what’s known as the northern rivers and some of the really wet bits are known as wetlands. Unless you want to snorkel to work each day and be mosquito fodder every night, it’s sensible not to live in a wetland.
I know, you’re gonna truck in a gazillion cubic metres of fuck-knows-what so you can sit high and dry. Well, thanks. I guess all that wet from the wetland will just happily evaporate and leave your neighbours high and dry too!
The current state of Byron’s infrastructure? Where better to start than Ewingsdale Road… our proponents’ new address. What a coup for them… I can picture the glossy marketing now, ‘Ewingsdale Road, drive a mere ten metres and immerse yourself in the world’s longest carpark’.
Meanwhile we, the lucky locals, are told to relax, cos there’s going to be a bypass. Yeah, a bypass that bypasses a butcher, a bank and a bakery, and 83 per cent of incoming motorists want to go to the bakery… why? Cos they’re fucking starving after two days stuck on Ewingsdale Road.
Immediately to the north of our DA proponents’ luxury landfill estate, a mere floodplain away, lies Byron’s Arts and Industry Estate, previously known as The Industrial Estate until Byron’s artists couldn’t be stuffed creatively navigating Ewingsdale Road.
Fifteen years ago this estate serviced Byron’s ‘industrial’ needs quite adequately, despite relatively narrow roads. But when the artists arrived, and more recently Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs (the inventors of Blogging), the parking has turned to shit. Throw in trucks demanding their sixty square metres of asphalt and it’s not a good vibe from a safety perspective. In fairness to the planners, who would have ever dreamt of Byron’s artists owning cars.
On the northern perimeter of the above estate lies one of modern man’s most formidable design achievements – the Sunrise Shopping Centre ‘car’ park. Before this ‘car’ park was vomited into existence I believed the biggest balls-up in Byron was/is a set of three porcelain urinals mounted halfway up a wall in the men’s loo at the golf club. They’re as useful as a bidet bolted to the ceiling.
Did anyone in Council actually sign off on the Sunrise carpark? Given this piece of infrastructure failed local residents the day it was opened, what’s going to be the outcome with the addition of another suburb to the south of the Ewingsdale Road carpark?
Just as Sydney suffers from crippling congestion as a result of its network of waterways, overpopulation and lack of vision re road infrastructure, so too does Byron Bay face the same fate.
In fact, with the ocean to its north and east and wetlands everywhere else, Byron is even more at the mercy of water, that wet commodity we can expect a helluva lot more of with the advancement of climate change.
The feasibility studies for the West Byron DA carried out a few years ago and the wetland area currently under discussion was deemed a No Go Zone then and should remain so now.