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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Horse has bolted on Byron bypass

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Jan Barham’s belated ecology-based offensive against the bypass has its uses – including embarrassing the pretenders that have trashed the Greens’ credibility – but it’s a bit like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. The crucial vote to go ahead with the bypass occurred in December 2017 and by that time over $1m had already been spent on legals, development application (DA) preparation and staff time etc Jan was M.I.A.

The only councillor who’s taken an active step to change the situation was Councillor Spooner, who a couple of years ago moved to get a costing on using the rail corridor; he was unsuccessful. Basil wouldn’t let go of his vote-winning fantasy that trains would return. If he hadn’t opposed the use of the rail corridor we might now have had a bypass we could live with.

Jan missed two important points in relation to ecology. Firstly, if the ‘biobanking’ process allows the use of already-protected wetlands as an offset against destroying other wetlands, then biobanking is clearly fraudulent. However, it may be Council that is using a credible process fraudulently; I don’t know enough to decide.

The second is that once-respected ecologist Dailan Pugh is on record saying that compensatory wetlands should be contiguous, not separate parcels as currently proposed for the bypass.

Jan says Council hasn’t released proof that the bypass environmental consent conditions have been met. In public access a few months ago I asked Ralph James if he was prepared to release documents proving that the council’s requirements have been met. His ‘reply’ waffled on about documents Council had filed in the court case. My question related to what documents Council possessed in relation to events after the court case had ended, that is, regarding the consent conditions imposed by said court.

My take on this reluctance  is that no way do the council staff intend to properly fulfil said consent conditions – it’s too expensive and RMS funding is limited. Releasing proof of the shortfall would only invite a local challenge.

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  1. Well if the lawyer won’t release documents then obviously the shyster has something to hide. Since when does an unelected lawyer decide the fate of the environment?

  2. Fast Bucks appears to be determined to denigrate me by making up things he says I said, such as “compensatory wetlands should be contiguous, not separate parcels as currently proposed for the bypass”. I never said this (he did). Last time in the Echo on 12 December he claimesd “Dailan is a supporter of the bypass – on the stated basis that cars idling in endless queues is not good for the environment”. I have never supported the bypass and never said that either.

    As I corrected him last time, I do not support biobanking and:
    I am well aware of the studies that say the bypass will only redirect 7% to at most 20% of traffic heading into Byron. and that traffic will still be backed up on Ewingsdale Road to the Butler Street roundabout.
    I have supported the idea that the bypass should be located in the rail corridor to avoid the wetland. Though I still think the mini-bypass was a better and cheaper option.

    And now Council is proposing to site the bus interchange to block the mini-bypass, a needed second route into and from the town centre, from ever being used again.

  3. It’s unfair to suggest Cr Basil Cameron’s approach to rail is the sole reason the bypass is not down the rail corridor. That was always for the State Government to decide, and they have said for years now that they didn’t want it going down the rail corridor. Former State MP Don Page also opposed the rail corridor bypass, as he wanted the corridor to be kept untouched for the rail trail project. The rail corridor bypass is and really always has been well out of any Councillor’s control. It’s unfair to suggest this has not been the case, particularly in recent years.


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