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Byron Shire
January 25, 2021

Ad hoc Butler St rail crossing

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David Morris, Byron Bay

I‘m sure that the trials that the Butler Street bypass and the transit station will inflict on the local neighbourhood are far from over.

Of course, those trials were already outlined (and ignored) in the futile submissions we were invited to make before the process went inexorably ahead.

The latest imposition has been what I consider ad hoc closures of the rail crossing in Butler Street. Now, at least one worker assured me, that there had been public consultation on this matter and ‘approval’ obtained. But I am not aware of any ‘consultation’ or ‘leaflet drop’ having occurred. So it was damned annoying, on Monday last, to find it closed off to pedestrians with the invitation to walk down to the Shirley Street end. When of course any who had business back up Jonson Street would now need to add perhaps twenty minutes’ walk to their journey. I walk a lot, but I certainly did not enjoy the extra walk in blazing sun and sticky heat! The point is, we were not prepared for this. I know of older people who certainly would find this extra locomotion arduous in the extreme.

Apparently, the decision on this was made in Sydney by, I understand, State Rail, as they have the transit station under their aegis. But Hazel Bros. are contracted to do the work, so why is there no intermediary here who will offer some explanation without the shrugged off comment that it was nothing to do with them?

Trying to find any telephone number to contact a suitable spokesperson in Sydney I found a hopeless task; but then I find few modern organisations want to have public contact. I believe many of them try to ensure it doesn’t happen. Increasingly, I find this leads to the anonymity of contemporary society.

I fail to see why some temporary access to town across the railway isn’t offered closer than the present detour suggested to hapless, bewildered and often heat-exhausted pedestrians. But that would mean some understanding from an organisation in Sydney of a local reality.

That late Sir Kingsley Amis wrote in the 1980s of what he called, ‘Sod the public’. This attitude is demonstrated, I find, with ever increasing frequency.

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