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Byron Shire
April 10, 2021

Waiting for Godot – or was that the Byron bypass?

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Oliver Dunne, Byron Bay

I believe The Echo’s commentary on the Greens candidate, Cr Lyon, were mean-spirited. Though not a Greens supporter, I believe the campaign against him, the mayor and other councillors for supporting the Butler Street bypass route has crossed the line. It is intimidation and bullying.

This project hasn’t just turned up from nowhere. Byron residents have long supported a second crossing of the rail line. The line acts as an effective Berlin Wall, leading to congestion and traffic jams right across the town.

The route was first placed on the Council books in the 1982 LES study; the 1987 Council organised the crossing at Browning Street with State Rail and placed it in the 88 LEP. Anyone who purchased in the area after that time would have been advised of it.

This is a second rail crossing for the locals to get around the CBD, not a nuclear power station. The NSW government recently bulldozed a $2.5 billion motorway through our Shire. This project is insignificant by comparison.

The so-called senior Greens have, for years, pursued a ‘do-nothing’ traffic strategy on the basis that if they could maintain traffic gridlock in Byron Bay, tourists will be deterred. That’s really worked well!

For over two decades, they failed to identify an alternative second crossing and would have this Council walk away three months from commencement.

When a council project reaches tender and construction councillors can not simply abandon it on a whim, no matter how well informed, particularly where approvals are in place. The bypass has successfully withstood a court challenge and the government funds have been allocated and spent.

At this stage you are effectively asking these councillors not just to sabotage years of work and chuck millions down the drain, but to effectively put their heads on the chopping block and risk an ICAC or Local Government minister-ordered Inquiry.

On this issue, I say to those carrying out this campaign, I feel you are leading the charge for your faction and seeking to dictate terms to these councillors. I think that amounts to bullying.

When it’s placed alongside the recent comments of the other senior Greens in your paper, it is akin to intimidation. This would not be acceptable coming from a self-interested developer or property owner, so why should it be from any other source, however high-minded?

I was happy to support the Butler Street residents search for an alternative route. But it hasn’t worked. We have currently an effective working council. Be careful. Once you have torn it down, don’t complain about its replacement.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Oliver,
    When Greens are elected to Council, they are elected for a reason.
    They are elected to hold the line, no matter what.
    Did the people who elected them say that they were elected to bulldoze through wetland.
    No, they didn’t.
    Greens are elected for a specific purpose. To protect the environment.
    Bob Brown went by convey to Adani and he stopped at Mullumbimby Showgrounds.
    Thousands of local people joined him there.
    THAT is the strength of the local people who live here who want the environment saved.
    Look back though the past Echonetdaily and you will find Echonetdaily had to photograph the crowd from the air to get all the people into the photograph.
    They are locals who voted for this Byron Council to save the local environment.
    Look at the results of the Richmond Federal election.
    The Greens got 19.7 percent of the vote.
    On an average all over Australia the Green vote is 10 percent, so the local Green vote is double the national average.
    So just who is going to pay for voting for the Bypass that destroys the wetlands.
    If it not the Byron councillors themselves, just who?

  2. Tamara and the Greens should have abandoned any thoughts of having trains running on the track between St Helena and Ewingsdale. The corridor could have then been used for a road between Shirley St and Old Bangalow Rd . Appeasing TOOTs and the Greens by saying a light rail could be incorporated was the silliest route that the Butler St Group could have taken . The only trains that may run on the track again will be heritage tourist train that doesn’t attract government fare subsidies and won’t get people out of cars . Shaking my head at the shear blinkered stupidity of the Greens . Now who would love a fleet of solar powered electric shuttle buses in our shire that will pick you up from almost your front door and drop you almost at your destination? Something that a train can never do.

  3. This issue is exactly the kind of thing that lead to the formation of community groups like Community Action Network, remember Oliver? A Council not listening ? Who gives a rat’s ring if money has been allocated or spent. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong!

    To think that a Green Council is the proponent of this travesty. It’s a bandaid remedy that will do NOTHING long term to solve the problems of poor Byron Bay. Oh what a sweet town it once was.

    And I’m so over the over-use of the word ‘bullying’. Like when the Mayor said that people were bullying the artist who was responsible for that atrocity at the gateway to Byron. Its called a critique, and if you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen!

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