I would like to make the following comments in response to the article ‘Questionable process surrounds transport hub’ published January 30.
Firstly the council has no control over state government projects built on government land. The state government announced funding for the Bus Interchange project in the leadup to the last state election.
While the announcement was made without consultation with Council, it was warmly welcomed despite scant detail as to the nature of the design or the level of funding committed to the project.
Secondly, as Transport for NSW couldn’t proceed to develop this project on its preferred site adjacent to the current bus stop in Jonson Street (owing to the Byron Bay Masterplan supporting the removal of buses from the Byron CBD), they approached Council seeking its support to place the facility on the Butler Street Reserve (Crown land currently vested in the Council). Contrary to the ill-informed musings of Councillor Coorey the council did not lobby ‘to have it removed off Butler Reserve and to get a better design’.
Transport for NSW had a study undertaken on the level of contamination of the Butler Street Reserve (it was an old rubbish tip), which found that the levels of toxic contamination of the site were significant and would cost millions of dollars to remediate.
This information rendered the proposal to build the bus interchange on this site unaffordable and Transport for NSW began to explore the option of building the interchange on Butler Street .
While I acknowledge that public consultation by Transport for NSW for this project has been less than desired, nonetheless this project has become a vital part of the overall strategies in the Byron Bay Masterplan to progressively pedestrianise the town centre, and to open up the railway corridor to allow for the free flow of pedestrian traffic between the town centre and the Butler Street area.
The interchange project will act as a catalyst for several associated Masterplan projects including the upgrade of the Railway Park carpark areas, the reconstruction of Byron Street with linkages to the rail corridor, and the activation of the rail corridor itself for community use.
With the bypass due for construction this year we are at last seeing the fruition of years of Council planning and consultation with the ultimate delivery of these key projects assuring that Byron township infrastructure keeps pace with its growing popularity and our town becomes more liveable for its longsuffering residents.