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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Police move in at Byron bypass protest site

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Police moved in to break up the Byron bypass protest this morning, physically dragging a number of protestors away, including grabbing at least one person by the neck.

According to the protestors, a group of police arrived at the Butler St site at around 10.30am accompanying construction trucks that had come to fill the swamp with gravel.

They joined two officers who were already at the site.

‘They were talking to some of us, telling us that they were going to move us on,’ said one of the protestors, Keen Hannah.

‘Then they all went to one of the entrance points and just started quite violently dragging people off to the side.

‘They didn’t say anything or ask any of them to move, they just went in and started grabbing people. They grabbed one guy by the neck and pulled him away.’

No one was arrested.

Two trucks then moved into the site, only to leave soon after without having done any work.

Earlier in the day local woman Robyne Stone chained herself to a paperbark tree on the site declaring that she was willing to be arrested and pay whatever price needed to stop the destruction of the wetlands.

‘The reason I picked this tree is that it’s one of the oldest ones here,’ she said.

‘The only reason that council’s looking at this is that they can come on in here with a backhoe – they don’t even have to touch them.

‘Shame on you council.’

Byron Council has consistently argued that the Bypass needs to be built to address the chronic traffic congestion going into and out of Byron Bay on Ewingsdale Rd.

It also says that all possible measures have been taken to minimise the impact on the Cumbebin swamp nature reserve.

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  1. Shame on you Greens Councillors and also those who have supported this ill-conceived plan, including Labor Councillors who voted for it.

    Used to be the Greens would stand with the Protectors!

    Now you are against us !

    SHAME !

    • I think you will find that in 2017 Paul Spooner teamed with Cate Corey to attempt to achieve a review of plans in light of Tamara Smith’s favourable response from the Department of Transport to her enquires re the use of the rail corridor. They were met with the now familiar stone wall.

  2. The bypass to nowhere, situated as it is at the choke point of Ewingsdale Rd congestion, will do very little to ease the traffic and council have certainly not taken all possible measures to minimise the impact on the Cumbebin swamp nature reserve.
    According to the plans, where this unsuitable for purpose bypass turns left heading for Mitre 10 there will be a substantial roundabout. A roundabout isn’t needed to just turn left, there are clearly other developmental plans in the offing.

  3. We have a council who have sold out on protecting the environment because they prefer to placate the moneyed elite rather than the people who understand that without Wetlands there can be no future because everything is connected. Up and down the East Coast it’s the same story and if councils and mayors don’t stand up for what is right the Eastern Seaboard will collapse.

  4. do the council ever study these areas and look to see what wild life is actual living there, l think they need to sit down together and sort out what is best for the wild life and the people. maybe they can build overhead roads and underpasses to help with the traffic congestion without taking all the land.

    • Yes an elevated causeway would have less impact on the wetlands. You’d think that they would think of that.

  5. I wonder if even one protester (not to mention the long trail of erudite commentators including former councillors) appreciates that the area affected is .39% of central Byron wetlands! Not 3.9%. Not 39%. It’s .39%. That leaves only 99.61% that is not touched.

    • You are a brave man! That said, some serious science into the flora and fauna which resides in the besieged area would have been sensible and averted much of the criticism if the data/facts were published.

    • Byrons remaining wetlands are just the remnants of what was originally here. There is no spare capacity. This is one of the remnant habitats for the Critically Endangered Mitchells Rainforest Snail, once widespread in the Northern Rivers, but now reduced to 5 sq kms of habitat (and it only moves about 5 metres a day). Not to mention the loss of the carbon capture and storage forest, with our human species being killed now from the impacts of Climate Change.

  6. How is it that a council with 4 Greens out of 9 total is a “Greens” council? And what real power do they have anyway? They are just lipstick on the NSW governments big lips.

    • Steph, this is a 100% Council development. The decision to bulldoze the bypass through Wetlands and Rainforest was an entirely Council decision

  7. Those people are not protestors. They are members of the public that Byron Council is not taking any notice of. They are RATEPAYERS. They pay rates to Council and councilors ignore that Council are damaging the environment that the Greens are beholden to protect.
    Has the bypass been proven to work? No.
    It will not work because it is not a proper bypass and will become part of the Byron CBD making the CBD bigger and more congested. There is no commonsense in this road. The vehicles are still being shuttled up and down Ewingsdale Road. There will be no reduction in traffic because of the publicity that there is a “bypass” and the traffic will increase.

  8. It’s about time arrests were made. These ‘activists’ have been seen obstructing traffic and trespassing.
    They have a right to protest peacefully but this is far from that. Workers with families to support who are just trying to get their job done are being obstructed and ridiculed.
    The bypass is well overdue and has been needed and proposed for over 30 years. Substantial offsets are in place. The proposal has been through the Land and Environment Court and is valid. It is fully funded. The counter proposal to use the rail corridor is history and could lead to more environmental damage.

  9. DISGRACEFUL scene watching eco warriors dragged off by the cops. This isn’t a Bypass but a ring road to nowhere. What about the old growth trees and wildlife who live there ? So much for a Greens Council…sadly I believe they are only ‘light’ Green at best. Greens councillors SHOULD be on the side of protesters not development companies invading Byron. Why couldn’t a bus terminal be implemented at the Cavanbah Centre , bringing locals & TOURISTS into town??? Hell ! there is even a solar train there….I CARE ABOUT THE ENDANGERED SNAIL & so do many other locals BUT obviously our Green councillors don’t give a rats…..Shame on them.

    • Steven, our best chance of survival of us and the other species that inhabit this planet is to protect all carbon capture and storage forests, and to save and expand forests so that wildlife can move accross the landscape as Climate Change increasingly alters landscapes.

  10. What a bunch of grubs… As if a little protest is going to stop the construction of the bypass.. I bet they DROVE to the protest also.. Hypocrites! All of you greenie grubs are hypocrites!! Typing away on your computers and iPhones. Bring on more construction. Hopefully they do away with the 3 story limit.. Love to see some 7 story buildings in town..

    • Rick global warming is the Laws of Physics – extremely accurate data collectors are identifying the increasing carbon pollution. It is in the form of a colorless gas accumulating at the periphery of the earths atmosphere, where it lets in light but insulates the subsequent heat. You are on the wrong side of science. As for promoting 7 storeys, I think you are on the wrong web site.


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