In the lead up to the last election NSW elections Nationals candidate Ben Franklin made a clear bid to win over the electorate of Ballina. Franklin promised that, if elected, the Liberal-National coalition would commit to $25 million for the roads of Byron Shire. Mr Franklin has now ensured that his conservative government has delivered on that promise despite the fact that he didn’t get elected as MP for Ballina.
The funding is from the NSW government’s Tourism Impacts Infrastructure which is providing two grants to help Byron Shire Council manage the impact of tourism.
One grant is for $20 million to help Council improve its road network. The second grant of $5 million is to support projects that towns that are impacted by tourism.
Announcing the details of how the $25m will be spent Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson was joined by the now NSW parliamentary secretary for Energy and the Arts, MLC Ben Franklin last Friday at Lone Goat Gallery in Byron Bay.
‘During last year’s state election, I announced this commitment which I am proud to be delivering today,’ Mr Franklin said.
‘The value of Byron Shire tourism to our state is substantial which is why I have strongly advocated that the government provide a greater level of support in return.
‘That is what this announcement does,’ he said.
It has been decided that the grants will be rolled out over the next three years and will include a new skatepark and recreation precinct for the Sandhills Estate and road improvements across the Byron Shire.
‘On behalf of Council I sincerely thank Ben Franklin, and the NSW government, for this much-needed injection of money into our Shire which, for many years, has struggled to accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists who come here for the “Byron” experience,’ said Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson.
‘With more than 2.1 million visitors a year Council really struggles to provide the infrastructure for local residents and businesses as well as tourists. The fact that for many years elected Councils prioritised other areas above funding for road infrastructure has meant our road networks are in desperate need of repair and with a rate base of only 15,1800 we just don’t have the money,’ he said.
‘Added to Council’s more recent funding increases on roads and other infrastructure, this injection of money will have a massive impact and we are incredibly blown away by the tenacity shown by Ben to fight against any moves to reallocate this election promised fund to deliver to us a “once in a generation” opportunity to get cracking on fixing our roads.’
The $20 million road fund will deliver:
· $10.15 million of improvements for:
– Kingsley St (Byron Bay)
– Carlyle St (Byron Bay)
– Lawson St (Byron Bay)
– Bayshore Drive (Byron Bay)
– Fern St (Mullumbimby)
– Stuart St (Mullumbimby)
– Tincogan St (Mullumbimby)
– Main Arm Rd (Mullumbimby – Main Arm)
– The Pocket Rd (Main Arm – Billinudgel)
– Old Bangalow Rd (Talofa)
· $3.8 million for Shire-wide asphalt overlay program
· $3.65 million for Shire-wide reseal program
· $2.4 million for Shire-wide patching program
The $5 million grant to support tourism communities will provide:
· $2.05 million for the Sandhills Estate activation including a new skatepark and recreation precinct linking the Byron Bay Rec Grounds, Main Beach, Tennyson St, Massinger St and Byron St
· $1.57 million for completion of the Byron Bay to Suffolk Park cycle path
· $945,000 for the reconstruction and upgrade of South Arm carpark at Brunswick Heads
· $435,000 to improve public facilities at Byron Bay’s Main Beach.