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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Puffing the bypass

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David Morris, Byron Bay

I was pleased to see in a recent Echo [observing the opening date for the completed bypass] that it was noted [by The Echo ] that there had been considerable local opposition to the bypass. When I read the Council’s last emailed media release, it was puffing the bypass achievement for all it was worth: a triumph following ‘thirty years in the planning’. 

I argued that all the protests [which we were invited to submit] were a waste of time.  As with most of these so-called developments, there is little democracy: they are all done and dusted before submissions are called for. You can put your protest in, but in the long run it will almost certainly not make much difference.

I for one am pleased the bypass was delayed at all.  Like others better informed than I am, it was clear from the start that the so-called bypass was not solely about the road. I believe; and I’m not alone I think, that there is an agenda to do with the commercialisation of this whole Butler Street area. 

It dismays me to witness how this neighbourhood has been altered; and I shudder to contemplate how ghastly it will be when it ultimately opens, along with the wretched new transit centre.

I am not, nor ever have been, part of the car-worshipping society; though I admit being a non-driving pedestrian can make life difficult sometimes.

I used to be able to rely on the train to get in and out of Byron Bay; but as this was taken away years ago that was the end of that. The removal of the train under Jemma’s Labor NSW administration was just as maddening as the pro- development Lib Nationals gung-ho development-at-all-costs approach. 

I note well that the Nationals’ Franklin is the name quoted in the Council’s media release on the bypass; it seems odd to me that this name crops up again and again, as though he is already de facto elected  MP for the area. But, of course, we are to know it was through this agency that the money that was solicited earlier to do the deed was secured. It must have irked Mr Franklin that he wasn’t elected as the local MP; but perhaps when the mini-motorway and grand central transit centre is open for business, he will be seen as the kind of MP that ‘gets things done’! I shudder to contemplate.

And when I do contemplate all that is happening in this town and area, it is little wonder that I said, a while ago, to religious proselytisers in the main street when they asked me, ‘Who shall we pray for?’ I retorted, ‘Pray for this place. It’s going to hell in a handbasket!’

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  1. Well said, David and I’d add to the bypass agenda, the augmenting of the case for the West Byron development. There seems very little regard for heritage values here.

    I don’t know where you live but I’d be surprised that if the train got you into town that there aren’t several buses that would do it. Our bus service gets a bad rap but I’ve always found it extremely comfortable and convenient.

    • Only trouble with buses is they get caught in traffic too! I once sat in one for over an hour on Ewingsdale Rd one Christmas holidays. Never again!

  2. Well said David. A pertinent letter. Butler St will become a commercial precinct as part of Byron’s transformation into just another suburb of the Gold Coast. Then there’ll be calls for a bypass to bypass the bypass! Byron’s well on the way to becoming overrun by traffic and overdevelopment.

    • Sadly, despite the efforts to protect it by many hardworking locals, Byron was overrun by traffic, overdevelopment and too many people 30 years ago.

      • Sad but true. The bypass, West Byron and continued overdevelopment will cement it down that path. The money being thrown at massive road upgrades is more bad news too. Over four lanes into town will be real reminiscent of up north! You can’t help but feel bad for Byron. Within 10 years, how we see it today will be a distant memory.

        • When it comes to the destruction of a once beautiful paradise, the people wanting to spend untold millions to rip up the only piece of infrastructure that has the potential to take thousands/millions of vehicles off the roads-the rail line-to build a bike track, are a huge part of the problem.

          An expensive bike track will not take one car off the roads, especially in hot weather when all the visitors arrive. Seems even local bike track enthusiasts prefer airconditioned public transport rather than cycling into town in the heat.


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