Designs for a bus interchange within Byron Bay’s rail corridor have been signed off by the state government, with plans for 57 new parking spaces in the Rails car park.
According to plans, there will be three dedicated bus bays, taxi and rideshare spaces, accessible parking and seating, and an upgraded pedestrian crossing. The South Lawson Street car park will see 30 new parking spaces.
Local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin says work should start in April, with the project expected to take about 14 months to complete. ‘This is about making it easier and more attractive to leave the car at home’, he said.
‘Both car parks will receive upgrades such as drainage, surface improvements, lighting and CCTV, with upgrades due to start after Easter.’
Yet, like the Butler Street bypass project, the bus interchange is mired in questionable process.
While Franklin says, ‘Transport for NSW had listened to feedback during community consultation,’ those most affected disagree.
Butler Street resident Paul Jones told The Echo, ‘I notice no change in the massive documentation set for the project that was effectively completed and put out to tender before we were consulted – it makes a mockery of the process.’
He says the design of the interchange is ‘convoluted and forced in a confined space, has [affected]heritage and visual aspects and [created] pollution (noise, light, fumes) impacts immediately adjacent to a settled heritage residential area.
‘The interchange will operate 4am to 11pm, seven days a week, with up to 128 buses a day and 89 vans, and these are just the starting numbers. Further concerns are the inevitable attraction these facilities provide for vagrants, and the location of the public toilets on the main pedestrian link into town’.
In June 2019, The Echo reported that no consultation was afforded the community for its location, which was owing to it being a significant NSW infrastructure project.
Both Council and Transport for NSW handballed responsibility around why the location was chosen.
Greens mayor Simon Richardson told The Echo, at the time, that he and and former Council GM, Ken Gainger, travelled to Sydney to lobby the state government to change the interchange’s location to be near the water tower and for it to be reduced in size.
‘Now we will be able to open the corridor land to public use and reactivate the tracks for possible shuttle uses etc,’ the mayor said.
Costings for the project were requested by The Echo, but are yet to be supplied by Transport for NSW.