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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Bypass angst

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The bypass angst shows how poorly supported we are by the NSW Government on transport infrastructure.

State coffers were opened only if it was spent on a bypass despite community advocacy for projects with widespread and more substantial benefits.

Total cost of the multiple studies, adjustments to landholdings, the project itself, court case and environmental dis-benefits would be well over $20 million.

By comparison, the multi-use rail corridor study has shown that for a similar amount the corridor can be activated with light rail and a walking and cycling track, servicing the length of Ewingsdale Road and the Bangalow Road corridor to Cemetery Road. As well, the rail corridor would be activated from Billinudgel to Bangalow.

This linking of Mullumbimby, Ocean Shores and Bangalow would have a very real impact in reducing demand for bigger roads funnelling more cars into the highly constrained town centre of Byron, and the other towns in the Shire.

The bypass experience shows that we will have to stand together for a sustainable transport network.

Plans already exist for more roundabouts and road building for Ewingsdale costing in excess of $30 million.

Are we going to allow for this without a similar investment in the rail corridor? Do we want business destroying, and pedestrian unfriendly round-a-bouts down Jonson Street as is likely to happen at the Mercato development, if Council gets its way?

Our community has developed a people-friendly vision for the town-centre in the Byron Masterplan. We have the people and the skills to make that a reality. Question is, will Council and the NSW Government support our community’s vision?

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  1. “Question is, will … the NSW Government support our community’s vision?” No.
    The NSW Government and ” a sustainable transport network” – mutually exclusive with their present attitude.

  2. The only suggested rail service in the Byron line report is a very light or hi-rail service, largely targeted at tourists, but which locals could benifit from. It might take a small number of cars of the road but with relatively small units on a single track line it would be marginal indeed. The use of existing public transport is lower in the Byron Shire than in neighbouring shires, ownership and use of cars is higher, and the line does not serve the busiest commuter route from the Bay which is to Ballina.

    If someone wants to invest in a tourist rail in the Byron Shire good luck with the venture, but don’t let that possibility be an excuse for neglecting both the road system and real public transport.


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