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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Byron Bypass costs blow out by $13.5 million

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The approved Byron Bay bypass, aligned with Butler Street. Source Byron Shire Council

Hans Lovejoy

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.’

$13.5m blowout

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.’

Approval pathway

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.’

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  1. Dear Editor, this semi quote on the by-pass makes a lot of sense, ‘Council need to achieve a zero effect on flood water levels and groundwater flows in the wetland,’. What horrifies people is what is being proposed for west Byron and any future developments anywhere. How does Council or the state government propose that west Byron can be built and ‘…..achieve a zero effect on flood water levels and groundwater flows in the wetland and surrounding property? I would propose that it is impossible and for West Byron to go ahead would be a very expensive way to increase flooding of it’s neighbours properties. No brains are required to understand this, as it happens west of Billinudgel industrial estate and Byron too. So the question remains, how can some people or investment groups establish a right or even feel they have the right to by swamp land, change land use and make money at the expense of others amenity and safety? Without empathy and understanding these groups endeavours are operating just like the banks have been found to operate, selfishly and with out understanding or empathy.


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