Plans to create a Byron Bay bypass along Butler Street, into wetland habitat and then joining Jonson and Browning Streets at Mitre 10, appear to be held up by the state government, as Byron Shire Council awaits determination for a $9.5m grant.
Responding to a status update request from local NSW MP Tamara Smith (Greens), Council’s director infrastructure services manager Phil Holloway said, ‘All relevant approvals are in place for the bypass to proceed. All that is required is the funding.’
Funding sources, according to Mr Holloway, will also come from Roads and Maritime Services ($10.5m), while Council’s own contribution is $4m. The current blowout has increased $5m since The Echo reported the total was $19m in November 2016.
Originally the state government’s contribution was to be $10.5m, and The Echo understands it is tied to a volunteer agreement with West Byron developers.
Yet the contentious bypass plan – which has been on the table for decades – has fierce resistance from Butler Street residents, who have long campaigned for the rail corridor to be used instead.
Butler Street Community Network’s Paul Jones told The Echo the strict consent conditions for the bypass may prove to be very onerous.
‘Council need to achieve a zero effect on floodwater levels and groundwater flows in the wetland,’ he said, adding that fauna (wildlife) will be required to move under the roadway, which could mean a bridge would need to be built.
‘A bridge structure may be the likely outcome – the wetlands section is 400 metres long including a roundabout.
‘Polluted water also needs to be treated and discharged into the wetlands off the roadway. Council will require acid sulfate soil management and there will likely be challenging ground geotechnical conditions. I understand too that the road should be flood immune as the rail corridor section is; for a Butler Street route this means quite a high deck level above the existing ground.
‘Further extensive noise mitigation measures are required for the 20-odd properties along Butler Street, which could amount to several millions of dollars. Butler Street will obviously become the MR545 main road, as efforts improve to reduce vehicle movements in the CBD as a more pedestrian-friendly zone; however, the current residential property development along Butler Street is completely inappropriate and dangerous adjacent to a busy main road, not to mention the huge number of pedestrians moving through the Burns Street intersection.’
Meanwhile, Holloway said the Byron Bay Bypass has two components requiring different approval pathways.
‘The section of the bypass on existing roads required an activity approval under Part V of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979; this has been approved by Council. The remainder of the route required a development application under Part IV that has been approved by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel and this determination has been considered by the NSW Land and Environment Court that also approved the application.’