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Byron Shire
October 3, 2022

Development creep around Butler Street bypass?

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A bulldozer clears Malleleuca trees on the eastern side of Butler Street to make way for the Byron bypass. Image: Paul Bibby

Will ecologically sensitive areas surrounding the Butler Street bypass project eventually be rezoned and developed?

It appears future councillors could explore the possibility, despite Greens mayor Simon Richardson claiming there are no plans presently to do so.

His Greens councillor block have justified the ecological destruction of the protected wetlands, in part, owing to the project only taking up a small percentage of the area.

The Echo asked Greens mayor Simon Richardson whether he was concerned that the area, known to contain highly vulnerable species, could be opened up for future development.

The Echo also asked, ‘Can Council ensure that this project will not open up the surrounding areas to development?’

The mayor replied, ‘It would be next to impossible to change an environmental zone into a commercial one unless there was no environmental value and councillors recommended exploring this. There is no current conversation, intent, view or desire, nor has there ever been within council staff or any councillor body of which I have been a part over 11 years to rezone areas in the Cumbebin swamp area for development’. 

I have no idea of every conversation of nearly 300 [Council] staff, but I have never heard of, or learned of any conversations between staff and councillors, or between councillors, on changing any of this environmental zone to a commercial zone’. 

‘The zoning is the zoning and would have to go through all the same processes to change a E-zone down to a commercial one and that is extremely difficult, nigh impossible, and that is only after a majority of councillors decided they wanted to explore it. There is no mention of it in the masterplan, there is no strategic planning reference of any kind. Anything can happen in theory, but in reality, it is a fear without substance’. 

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  1. Here we go again. Who can ever forget the start of all of this destruction of nature when mature trees were slaughtered in Railway Park to make way for current development? It was claimed “Nobody in Council had ratified this action!”. As a result Ken Grainger, General Manager of Council resigned as a result of ‘confusion.” Is Council going to prosecute the Bulldozer Operators for illegal destruction of a site not zoned for destruction?
    Or is this another leg pulling ‘wink wink’ illegality that Rate Payers have to tolerate’. Please explain.

  2. I’m sorry, but where in this whole story is there anything to justify the headline that there could be development creep? Simon makes the absolute point that it’s never been mentioned or considered, which I can verify. The story then says councillors could consider it but provides zero justification.

    This story could read, will nuclear plants come to byron and have the same amount of justification.

    Nowhere has the conversation around the bypass ever talked about future commercial development. The road has been on the books for over 30 years to deal with existing traffic chaos.

    Another not-so-great bit of ‘journalism’

  3. As I have repeatedly said, this project is about spending public money for private gain. The Mayor has only been following it for 11 years & claims blissfull unawareness of the long-term strategy. Fair enough. I sat on the By-pass Committee , established during the Eastcott reign, & have followed the issue for 30 years. I’ve still got a large box of files. When you put all the parts together – join the dots – it is clear. The persistent way expert advice & traffic studies have been ignored. The blind eyes turned on massive complications like the messy deals done over the properties between Mitre 10 & the Old Norco complex. The refusal to properly assess the impact of the proposed roadworks of flooding in the towm centre.
    The By-pass will have no observable effect on the continual traffic jams, particularly for eastbound traffic between the Industrial estate & the police station at peak times. There will be a lot of disappointed motorists who have listened to the ‘useful idiots’ who go on about pedestrianising the town centre & so on.

  4. Council has already rezoned the fake bypass extension of Butler St from an environmental zoning to an Infrastructure Zone. The “bypass’ 50 metre diameter ” roundabout is supposedly to ‘facilitate steady traffic movements’, but a curved road would do that, whereas a roundabout wont. The Roundabout has only one road in and one road out, and the state govt in the original town plan zoned a number of blocks in the swamp, that presently have no access, that remain privately owned. Connecting further roads to the roundabout wont happen tomorrow, but…. And perhaps Cr Richardson and Lyons would like to give us an update on the status of the Council vote to extend the Town Centre commercial zoning to Buttler st, and how a ‘bypass’ can operate down a street of cafes, pubs, shops, and tourist accommodation. The Greens Councillors have sold out the environment to develop a new commercial area


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