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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Fairytale line

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Tim Shanasy, Byron Bay

Byron Shire’s fairytale ‘The Byron Line’ is the ‘Rail Trail’ everywhere else!

It became even clearer to me, after reading the notes from the recent Council meeting about ‘The Byron Line’, that this project is completely unrealistic.

We now have two shires, Richmond Valley and Tweed, ready to build a rail trail (with funding committed from state and federal governments) and the legislation is now almost through the NSW parliament to enable construction of this hugely usable Rail Trail asset.

Yet Byron Shire Council continues to blatantly risk the high likelihood of having nothing developed at all, and even having their part of the corridor sold off owing to lack of use.

The engineering company Arcadis has agreed to look at the bridges (digitally), at $33,000 per bridge, but they don’t seem to know how many bridges there are. This doesn’t include the $300,000 of Byron Shire ratepayers’ money already spent.

They have been unable to access all the bridges owing to extreme vegetation growth, and want Byron Council to clear it prior to inspection! NSW government has no budget to assist.

If Byron Council had consulted with the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT), they would have been able to access a lot of this information for free. The Arcadis report thinks there are only seven bridges between Byron and Mullumbimby, whereas there are actually 20 bridges. 20 x$33,000 = $660,000!

Council’s consultation and engagement has been with the ‘key stakeholders’ – TfNSW, both NSW and federal governments, Tweed and Richmond Valley Councils and community groups such as TOOT. Why was NRRT omitted from this group?

Ok, so we now know the state of the bridges and maybe how much it will cost to fix them, but who is going to fix them? Currently there are no funding opportunities for a Rail with Trail from the Federal or NSW governments, or any other funding sources.

Just suppose the bridges were fixed, then who is going to fund maintaining them?

Supposing the whole line was fixed, it would only be suitable for very light rail at speeds no greater than 60kms per hour! Just to be clear, this would not be public transport

You can ride an electric bike pretty quickly and it will take you to where you want to go.

Having heard about a recent meeting of the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce, it seems the Bangalow community are very unhappy that they are missing out on the rail trail. They have poor public transport and no safe place to cycle.

I don’t know about you, but I resent my rates being spent on a fairytale project that will never come to fruition.

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  1. This project will quickly reach the realms of the gambler who has gambled away their whole pay cheque. “We have spent to much to stop now”. Millions will be squandered and years of opportunity lost while the trail goes ahead in other shires.

    Byron voters have just one chance next year to vote this nonsense out. Otherwise the next opportunity will be in 2025 when ratepayers will be asking why there is still no railway, no trail and no money left for anything else.

    The Greens have lost the plot. Councillors Hackett, Spooner, and Hunter desperately need some support.


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