Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry
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?