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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Cumbebin Wetlands cleared as Byron Bypass construction goes into overdrive

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Paul Bibby

Bulldozers have begun cutting a swathe through the Cumbebin Wetlands to make way for the Byron bypass, putting a sword to last ditch efforts being made to save the rainforest area.

With police evicting protesters from the site earlier this week at the behest of Byron Council, the construction project has gone into high gear.

On Wednesday two bulldozers were clearing a large stand of melaleuca trees at the northern end of the bypass near Butler Street reserve.

It comes as local Greens MP Tamara Smith continues to call for a complete environmental survey of the area.

After seeing the Council’s map of the environmental species in and around the footprint of the Bypass, she told The Echo that it ‘clearly shows a critically endangered rainforest’.

But Greens Mayor Simon Richardson said Ms Smith was ‘unaware of some of the details surrounding the bypass…’

‘The original Council mapping of the area as a rainforest was based on a process based largely on desktop photo analysis.’

‘Owing to the requirements within the biobanking process, Council undertook a far more detailed assessment of the area than Council’s usual mapping process.’

The council is offsetting the loss of 1.4 hectares as part of the bypass project with the ‘management and improvement’ of 44 hectares of what it says is the ‘exact type of vegetation’ found within the bypass footprint.

‘Any delay could escalate the project cost, which must be paid from Council and ratepayers’ road budget,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘Any decision to delay or reconsider the project in the final hour owing to political or ideological opposition to the road will also likely threaten our grant funding and timely delivery of the project.’


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19 COMMENTS

  1. Byron Bypass preparations has started bulldozers in cutting a swathe through the Cumbebin Wetlands to put an end to save the rainforest.

  2. And this is Byron Councills response to their declaration of a Climate Emergency, in response to the planets Global Warming and Wildlife Extinction crisis? And in compliance to the Bypass Vegetation Plan that states that “Take care to protect existing trees and shrubs, their roots and canopy, along the road verge”?

  3. Hey hand ringers, let it go. It’s a small price to pay to help congestion in over hyped ,over crowded cesspool that is today Byron Bay. Byron is lost to development anyway so why bother. I hope that the soon to arrive worldwide recession will slow down Byron’s destruction when the tourists stop.It will look a bit like Lismore’s CBD with vacant shops every where, only more so.

  4. Have just been down there. The destruction of an aprox. 50mtr long 30 mtr wide, dense stand of old paperbarks and palms continues unabated, and despite allegations of checking for any species that will be being killed, there is NO ONE CHECKING. Byron Council and the “Climate Emergency” Councillors that voted for this are culpable of ecocide and the callous disregard to wildlife deaths.

  5. I’m sick to my gut… Green traitors to our planet and it’s threatened biodiversity. Can’t wait to see the Green Four put to the sword.

  6. Well there goes another frog habitat and what ever else lives in there . And if they found a endangered species in there I wonder if it still went through

  7. I live in the UK and have just awoken this morning to read the shocking news that you are about to destroy the Cumbebin Swamp, an area I visit regularly every time I come to Australia to visit my children. My son lives in Alstonville and my daughter has just moved from Skinners Shoot on the northern edge of the nature reserve (to Ballina) and my wife and I will be coming over next month – our 13th visit in as many years – and I was looking forward to visiting Cumbebin Swamp, one of my favourite birdwatching places. It has a wealth of rainforest species, not only birds but reptiles such as Red-bellied Black Snakes and of course the trees and epiphytes are amazing. I’ve known about the planned bypass for some time and you certainly need one if you aren’t prepared to introduce a ‘Park and Ride’ scheme as we do here. BUT I didn’t realise you were going to put it through Cumbebin Swamp! This is one of the few remaining littoral rainforests you have left and I am appalled to see it go. As usual, the same old excuses are being aired such as “offsetting”, project management delays increasing budgets etc. I’m afraid we’ve seen it all too often here in our nature-impoverished UK.

  8. Won’t vote green again and the traffic at the police station roundabout will be a nightmare with bypass traffic cutting across exiting town traffic.

  9. Thank God common sense has prevailed. Looking forward to the opening of this major piece of infrastructure. We should recall it was Prime Minister Tony Abbott who had the foresight and gumption to fast track the M1 project between Tweed and Newcastle so that we can travel more safely and faster. Thanks again Tony

  10. Bio banking? It might look good on paper, and to the ignorant. Have Councillors and staff done their homework, or blinkered on like lemmings?

    The almighty grant funded dollar is at risk so we better get those trees down quick.

    Whatever the reasoning it beggars belief that these actions are the result of a Green majority.

    From: Paradise Lost, Nature Conservation Council’s paper on the weakening and widening of NSW biodiversity offsetting schemes

    Biodiversity offsetting schemes in NSW have failed to deliver the promised outcomes.The performance of five existing offsets schemes was examined through the lens of eight Case Studies in the state’s northwest, southwest, Hunter Valley, and in Sydney. These Case Studies demonstrated that biodiversity offsetting in NSW is failing to deliver the environmental outcomes governments and policy makers have promised. In one Case Study (Boggabri/Maules Creek), biodiversity outcomes were deemed to be “Disastrous”. In five others, outcomes were “Poor” (Warkworth, Mount Owen, Huntlee, Albury, Kellyville). Only two Case Studies were found to have resulted in “Adequate” biodiversity outcomes (Namoi, Wagga Wagga), while none resulted in outcomes deemed “Good”. (See Table 2 below and Section 5.)

    https://www.nature.org.au/media/265228/bio-offsetting-report_v14.pdf

  11. Anothe push toward insanity rushed through correct process for monetary motives- taken down so quickly as to thwart any further investigation or realistic alternatives. Urelated to any of it’s alleged proposed pourpose. Another assault of native homelands, identify and the ancient and unique works of the thousands of generations-
    RIP my friend

  12. Good on you Council it takes so long to get through that Main Street this needs to be done a long time ago thank you very much progress progress

  13. Money – Money – Money

    The paragragh below, quoted from a mayor that clearly does not give a damn about the environment! To say it will threaten council grant funding, that’s obviously all you care about, money, money, money, well money doesn’t bring back what you are destroying..shameful but just remember this will be your legacy!!
    Well done for doing nothing to protect so little left of our precious rainforests. As long as you deliver your project! Disgraceful.
    Park and ride anyone? This could have been implement by now. But you had no vision or considerstion for a proper solution for getting cars off roads and encouraging people to use a much better system. Imagine having this legacy?
    Tamara Smith, sorry but a bit too late also.. Green my Ar#e!! Please can you get off yours and do your job!

    Paragraph refering too:
    “Any decision to delay or reconsider the project in the final hour owing to political or ideological opposition to the road will also likely threaten our grant funding and timely delivery of the project.’

  14. Well Paul Bibby. That is the most biased & skewed piece of reporting I have seen in a while. Inaccuracy & bias is NOT the way I like my Echo. Leave that to the letters section, please.

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