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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Byron Bay Interchange Station opened, local member snubbed

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Ben Franklin MLC, Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson and Transport for NSW Executive Director Transport Partnerships, Regional and Outer Metropolitan, Barbara Wise at the opening of the new interchange. Photo supplied.

The new $8.4 million Byron Bay Interchange Station is now complete, with the aim of providing increased accessibility and safety for public transport customers.

Yesterday, Nationals MLC Ben Franklin joined outgoing Byron Mayor Simon Richardson (but not local MP Tamara Smith) to inspect the new interchange ahead of it being open to traffic tomorrow.

Mr Franklin said the new interchange will provide more transport and access options in and around Byron Bay and better connect people to the town. ‘The new interchange offers easier pick up and drop off zones for coaches, buses, taxis and rideshare and is about making it more attractive to leave the car at home,’ said Mr Franklin.

Opening the Byron Bay Bus Interchange. Photo Jeff Dawson.

‘Road users will also notice reduced congestion in and around the town centre, which is a huge win for locals,’ he said.

Works included preserving the iconic heritage water tower (alas, minus its wonderful graffiti art) and new landscaping, incorporating native plants and scrubs.

The project has supported about fifty people during construction, across engineering, building and administration roles. Mayor Simon Richardson said the opening of the bus interchange was another key achievement in the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan which prioritises pedestrians over cars.

‘In February this year we opened the Byron Bay bypass which has been an outstanding success with the latest counts revealing a 30 percent decrease in traffic in Jonson Street,’ he said.

‘The opening of this bus interchange means that congestion will be further reduced and this is a terrific outcome for the community,’ said Cr Richardson.

Local member snubbed from opening

In what has been a disturbingly regular occurrence, the Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith, whose electorate includes Byron Bay, was not invited to the interchange opening. (Ben Franklin MLC unsuccessfully stood for her seat at the last election.)

Member for Ballina Tamara Smith outside her electorate office. Photo David Lowe.

Ms Smith has been critical of the environmental destruction associated with the bypass and interchange.

Tamara Smith told The Echo: ‘One thing the last few months have shown us is that the Liberals and Nationals have an entitlement problem and a misogyny problem.

‘They feel entitled to rort the system and they perpetuate a culture in which women are treated with contempt.

‘Ironically yesterday I was giving evidence at a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Liberals and Nationals Grants rorts!’ she said.

‘Open, honest, transparent, collegial and bi-partisan ways of doing democracy is what our communities are demanding from their elected leaders. But what we are getting from the Liberals and Nationals are backroom deals, dishonest processes, captain’s picks, misogyny, entitlement and self interest,’ said Tamara Smith.

It is yet to be seen if anything will improve as 2021 rolls on.

For more information about the new transport interchange, please visit this site.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. 8.4 million dollars I understand – utterly amazing how Richardson could swing the LNP for that much. I am in awe of his abilities to charm and wash over with his activist past and his green principles and yet deliver such indulgences as this over scaled, surveillance state bus stop with dusk till dawn airport flood lighting, bristling with cameras, absolutely crazy amount of concrete, destroying a State heritage listed rail yard and all without a single call to residents, without a ounce of consultation with those most effected, claiming all the while he had nothing to do with it. He denigrates any community activist who is not on his side, he smashes through wetlands with the highest possible environmental protection with impunity, and stands by while his Council bring in outside police to bust up legitimate environmental protesters.

      • Anyone directly affected by this bulldoze the bush for a motorway deserves whatever compensation they can get from this pump up the carbon pollution environmental/social abortion. But there will be no compensation when Byron bay is under water from this contribution to increased sea levels from this Council facilitated permanent loss of carbon capture trees – when (Not If) this contribution to sea level rise permanently inundates a private property, then you loose ownership and ownership returns to the State (not to mention the breakdown of society).

      • The fence belongs to the community, it is a heritage listed item, listed by Byron Shire Council for the community of Byron Bay and I cannot touch it without their approval.

  2. $8.4m for a bus station!! $24m for the by-pass!! Total $32.4 million- which would have restored the train line for a commuter train in 2004, which is what’s needed if people are going to be able to leave their cars at home. But the LNP prefer to spend three times that amount on a bike track for a few fit cyclists. When they fail to materialize they’ll sell off the valuable Crown land to developers to build highrise, as they’ve done all over Sydney. The LNP should be incarcerated for this criminal waste of public money and public infrastructure, not applauded.

  3. Destroying wetlands and critical y endangered species habitat when the option of use of Councils land on the industrial estate close to the train to town was available – we are in the countdown to global collapse – Thank you Simon Richardson and Ben Franklin for your part in destroying the planet

  4. Not withstanding or discounting all the many, valid issues involved here…
    But…
    Tamara Smith criticised and objected to the project, and is now peeved that she wasn’t invited to the opening (and photo op) of said project?

  5. Why on earth would the incumbent watermelon Green be invited to the opening of an infrastructure project she opposed during every stage of its construction.

    • Tamara was listening to the community and working for a win win outcome, don’ think the outcome we got was the only possibility – no it was Simon Richardson’s proposal alone, he can try and hide behind the “master plan” but that too was his agenda. Yes he has achieved and outcome, practically it may work well and State investment in transport solutions is always welcome – so there was plenty Tamara could have acknowledged at the opening of the transit centre even if she did not agree with it’s location or its form or its ongoing impacts.

  6. I really hope that when we have a new mayor we will be spared the weekly photo op with Ben Franklin. It is really poor form for these events to exclude the local MLC.

  7. This assault on the community’s will should not be forgotten and the community needs to be more diligent when they vote. Just because someone says that they are green , it does not mean that they are.
    A couple of overseas junkets and rubbing shoulders with developers can change anyone. The methods, like insulting and bulling local community activists, should have been called off years ago. Ignoring Tamara, who is representing our electorate, demonstrates this contempt vividly.

  8. Council’s intentions are clear, much more development in the wetlands. You don’t build a roundabout for just one road.

  9. If Council had not rejected outright the rail corridor option for the bypass an extension south would have been available without the need to destroy more wetlands. It seemed a question of hanging on doggedly to notions of trains returning but this green (small g) motivation ironically resulted in a superior and much less destructive bypass alternative going uninvestigated.

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