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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Council fail on bypass

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While the Byron bypass protestors have been evicted from the site following two arrests last Thursday and the construction continues to move ahead there are still local residents who believe Council is failing the community.

Last week Byron Council stated that the issues raised by local Greens MP Tamara Smith regarding the subtropical rainforest at the site were out of date. However this is disputed by Former mayor and Greens MP for Ballina Jan Barham who says that the 2015 mapping council refers to is not the most up to date mapping that council has of the area.

‘My concern with the survey work is the lack of recognition of the subtropical rainforest,’ she told The Echo.

‘I’m still in disbelief that they have failed to recognise the rainforest as identified in their 2017 mapping. Why do they keep going back to mapping that was done in 2015 when the mapping in 2017 was a far more detailed analysis as part of the e-zone review.

Issues have also been raised by local activist Fast Buck$ who sought to view the ‘Construction Environment Management Plan’ (CEMP) that is required by the Land and Environment Court ruling to be held on-site and be available publicly.

Having tried to view the CEMP on site he was told that he would need to contact Council. Then having been told by Council he could view it the next day at their offices he was refused the opportunity to read the document.

Ms Barham agrees saying that ‘The lack of detail and information in the DA and EIS is one of the reasons that the Land and Environment Court placed the significant consent condition and the additional 10 management plans that are required to proceed with the bypass,’ she said.

‘They should be publicly available unless there is good reason not to be. Council is playing two roles as both the proponent and the consent authority. This requires them to be open and transparent. This is what we did when we were developing the Byron sewerage works at Byron. We had all documents available and up on websites so the public could access them. That is what this council should be doing as part of the process with the Byron bypass.’

Mayor Simon Richardson confirmed just prior to going to print that the CEMP is now available to the public at councils head office in Mullumbimby.

Endangered species

Council is currently in discussion with the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy following public concerns raised with the department.

‘My understanding is that the federal government’s department of Environment and Energy has been in contact with council about their failure to refer the bypass construction to them in connection to the EPBC,’ said Ms Barham.

‘The council are the proponent and they didn’t voluntarily refer the plans to the department of energy and environment which they are required to do because there is a nationally endangered species being impacted. In fact council said that it was unlikely that there would be any of the endangered Mitchell’s Rainforest Snails to be there when in fact the snail has been found at the site.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. No the present council did what many in community have wanted for the past 30 years . It may cause a slight environmental thinning of bush but the benefits far outweigh the loss .
    1- Emergency services secondary access across the railway corridor.
    2- Savings in time and money for local businesses and workers .
    3- Alleviate peak work hour traffic jams .
    4- Give Butler St a new and quiet road service .
    5- Allow for a railway freight depot to be serviced directly without requiring the container trucks going down Jonson St.
    So in short it will be very busy during peak hours but quiet outside these hours and emergency services will breath a sigh of relief during those summer months when Jonson and Lawson streets are totally jammed .

    • Geoff Bensley is a former Masterplan committee member, and who spoke at the Joint Regional Plannining Panel in support of Graham Dunn’s (another Masterplan committee member) previous Rejected 4 storey bottom of Jonson St development. A web comment posted by Geoff Bensley on the Masterplan discussion site – “One good thing about the Railway Park is it is welcoming for the parkies especially in the western section. Great for sitting and drinking out of harms way . Maybe just leave it as a drinking park but rename it Goon Park. No need for kids play equipment, just leave the tree wall in the middle and no grass” .
      All his above comments would equally apply to the use of the Rail Corridor for a bypass road, which would save the current destruction of an aprox 20 metre wide swathe of paper bark forest that will continue for about 100 metres along butler st , before they even get into the forest at the bottom. While an extension of the electric train creating a cross town service is my preferred traffic reduction option, the rail reserve will either be used for transport infrastructure or sold off to developers (which Mr Bensley probably supports)

  2. Sounds bogus like so m any of your ideas. When councils do not follow accepted and required protocols then it is natural for people to think something shady and devious is going on. here we see something and devious going on not to mention the fact that these people pretending to be Greens are sell outs and follow the money like flies around cow dung. no one should take you or your sooth saying rubbish seriously .

  3. Did you put that snail there Aaron ? Note reluctance of complainants to acknowledge significant reduction of noxious emissions (including greenhouse gases) in the CBD due to ease of traffic congestion. It’s known as being “one-eyed”.

  4. Jan Batam was never MP for Ballina. Don Lage was the former member, and the seat did not exist as Ballina before then. If you can’t get basic facts right, what’s the point of even writing the rest of your gibberish.

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