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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

Bypass protestors calling for support

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The Byron bypass protest is entering its second week. Photo supplied.

Byron bypass blockaders are calling for supporters to join them today as some blockaders expect bulldozers to start clearing vegetation today. They are calling for a red alert and for all supporters of the blockade to join the camp as soon as possible.

The protest has now entered its second week as they seek to stop the controversial Byron bypass that is set to extend down Butler Street and cut through an area of SEEP 14 wetland that includes a threatened ecological community and habitat of critically endangered Mitchell’s rainforest snail.

Former local politicians and councillors Ian Cohen, Jan Barham and John Lazarus have all been critical of the bypass, which they say will be 30 metres wide and cause unnecessary stress to threatened species. Former mayor Jan Barham has taken two advertisements (part 1, part 2) in The Echo detailing concerns about the transparency of the process used to approve the bypass and the validity of using biobanking as a way to offset damage to the local endangered ecosystem.

Protesters formed a circle inside a banner to prevent drilling on the site on Monday. Photo supplied.

Protesters stopped drilling

On Monday protestors formed a circle inside a banner to prevent drilling on the site for several hours, until workers later returned with a police escort.

Since that time the blockade camp has relocated from the east side of the street to the west, after police fenced off the area and warned they would be clearing the site by the end of the day.

Police and council have agreed that that activists have authorisation to camp in Butler Street for the remainder of the year.


Blockader Saul Dalton says, ‘It’s time for our Mayor to be honest to ratepayers about the reasons they have chosen this destructive route for the bypass when there were better options available.

‘As a balance to the stressful side of their campaign, the protesters are planning an upcoming “camp-warming” in their new site, with workshops, drum circles and film screenings.’

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  1. I went and checked out the blockade site yesterday! Yay to the brave people defending our environment against a delusional Greens dominated Council.

    I support CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE for this matter !

    You Green Councillors should hang your heads in shame !

    The unused rail corridor is so close … totally environmentally destroyed already … but NAH… you guys have to trash the one last piece of rainforest, and it inhabitants, left in Byron Bay.


  2. Seriously protesters – what is the end-game here? None of us likes the idea of the vegetation being cut down, but the alternative is massive and irreversible grid-lock for tens of thousands of locals and visitors every month of every year. Moreover, the game is over. The courts, the State Government and the Council have all made their decisions. You won’t stop it now, and to be honest, all you are doing is blowing the cost out and causing our own council to make larger losses. A classic case of shooting yourself in the foot.

    Again, don’t misread this comment – I’m not saying it’s a great option, but it’s the “least worst” option and is simply approved, and you should turn your attention to something more productive and more likely to influence!

    • obviously the problem is with over development, they need to cut it off, ban cars so you can drive through Byron, and begin to fix the 20 yrs of craziness and reduce the pop

  3. JimBB – Coal Seam Gas mining licences were all lawfully in place, as was the Adopted Planning parameters for the Urban Release area of West Byron. It wouldnt be the first development consent that this community has turned over. And Byron Concil has Adopted to extend the CBD to Buttler St with an Adopted Masterplan proposal of Multi Story apartments on the Buttler St Reserve – the bypass will be down a new town Centre CBD road, it wont bypass anything, it is for an expanded commecial development area. A cross town train and reorganised traffic flows would help, the ‘bypass’ wont.

  4. Sorry JimBB … but its the Greens Councillors who’ve shot themselves in the foot … the Protectors ‘endgame’ is to stop destruction of Mother Earth … and your argument about all those poor people in gridlock ? Well hopefully they’ll go somewhere else! Bugger people and their convenience. Ain’t gunna be real convenient for the critters when their homes have been destroyed !

  5. The Byron Bypass will increase traffic therefore more gridlock, 24 million for a light rail, park and ride makes this vandalism look totally stupid, it’s construction is for one purpose, to facilitate the West Byron development,

    Politically people should join Byron Greens and throw these pretenders out

    • Notwithstanding what Mayor Richardson has misleadingly advised, the multi use corrdior report has not proposed a light rail in the Byron Shire. It is proposing small slow very light rail or hi-rail units . As Byron Shire Council states, it will use tourism as the driver of the project, with community use as an added benefit. It might attract some tourists and be a good way to get tourists out into our region but even with park and ride a slow tourist rail on a single gauge line will not make any significant difference to traffic in Byron Bay. Bypasses in other regional towns might increase traffic movement but where they also reduce congestion.

      I would also note that the unused corridor Rossco Phillips refers to is the property of NSW, not the Byron Shire. Demanding the NSW Government surrender what is not yours is not civil disobedience but thuggery.

  6. Peter, you might be interested to read the agenda for the BSC meeting of June 2017 which addended a copy of a letter to Tamara Smith from Mark Coure, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure which included the following:

    ‘ … if Byron Shire Council, the relevant road authority, wishes to propose the construction of a road within a specific section of the rail corridor in the vicinity of Byron Bay, the NSW Government would be happy to consider its proposal in further detail.’

    I think you will find that polite enquires have been made.

    • I have read the background documentation on this, including the letter you quote from. My comment refers to Rossco Phillips apparent assumption the corridor is available for the Byron Shire to use. It is valuable land that belongs to the people of NSW, not Byron Shire.


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