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Byron Shire
April 20, 2024

Protest gets results

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Protest co-organiser, Kol Dimond, used a loudspeaker outside Council to highlight that the unsafe roads in Upper Main Arm have breached Council’s duty of care. Photo Jeff ‘Putting The Pot In A Hole’ Dawson

Psst: want to get Council staff to do something about the appalling state of roads in your neighbourhood?

Then organise a protest outside Council Chambers!

By the time a hardy crew of Upper Main Arm residents had gathered on Thursday to highlight their dangerous and disintegrated road, Council road works crew had graded the worst bits that morning.

It appeared the work residents were requesting for months took all of about four hours to complete.

Prior to Council grading the road and the protest on Thursday, Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, Phil Holloway, put out a lengthy press release around the challenges of road repairs in the hinterland, owing in part to a lack of funds. He said, ‘One of Byron Shire Council’s main areas of focus in 2023 is managing a $180 million program of flood recovery work designed to provide improvements and solutions to roads and bridges that will be able to stand up to future flood events’.

Frustration acknowledged

‘We are very aware that much of this work will be starting 12 months after the floods and it is a frustrating wait for those in our community who are negotiating damaged roads, bridges and causeways as part of their daily routine’.

Holloway added, ‘a lot of work is happening behind the scenes,’ and that, like other affected councils, Byron Council has ‘never dealt with a disaster of this magnitude’.

‘For a small, regional council like Byron Shire, a damage bill of more than $180 million is beyond our financial capacity and we are working with the NSW government to secure funding and planning the scope and detail of each project, and sourcing contractors, are not things that can be done quickly,’ he said.

‘At Upper Main Arm, reconstruction work is not expected to start until the second quarter 2023, pending approvals from Transport for NSW. In the meantime Council is looking at doing some temporary grading work as an interim measure until the reconstruction work gets underway.

‘Prior to Christmas the clearing of culverts was finished, along with some other emergency roadwork such as road pavement works at Palmwoods Road.

‘Council has also prepared applications for additional funding to improve the resilience of the Main Arm Road to withstand future flooding events. The results of the funding applications, which are expected in early 2023, will inform the extent and type of repairs’.  

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