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Byron Shire
September 26, 2023

Rail trail: illogical gap

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I refer to the recent petition begging the Byron Shire Council (BSC) to cooperate with the community to expedite the completion of the rail trail in Byron Shire’s jurisdiction.

The arrogance, dishonesty and disingenuous behaviour of those councillors who voted effectively against this petition is plain.

If they and their acolytes didn’t notice, we already have a public transport system in Byron Shire. I bet none of you use it.

The councillors’ proposal to add another transport system is illogical and going to cost ratepayers; and these people are not giving up, obfuscating, and delaying the inevitable.

The rail line built to transport bananas and butter in 1906 was already obsolete when Deputy PM Doug Antony commented in the 1990s that it was a line that nobody used. Labor minister Michael Costa had the good sense to close it in 1993. 

The rail trail, a new positive healthy regional asset, was proposed in 2005, now 18 years ago. All 170kms of it is now cut in the middle by BSC rendering it useless as a whole. The Green alternative is a fantasy that is environmentally and economically unsustainable taking us back to the 1950s. The health and economic benefit to the community will be tremendous.

This fiasco reminds us that it took 28 years to get a bypass into town. The Greens must be judged by their one-eyed ideology.

The mayor must resign along with the ning nongs who support him. Councillor Westheimer’s analogy to water fluoridation is a non sequitur. Michael [Lyon] you are a mug doing a great deal of harm.

James Blacket, Myocum

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  1. Huh? What are you on about? The mayor, Michael Lyon, seconded Cr Pugh’s motion to progress the rail trail on formation from Crabbes Creek to Mullumbimby and between Byron Bay and the western shire boundary at Booyong.

    Cr Lyon expressed that he is willing to wait until the degradation report is provided by Northern Rivers Rail LTD in December before deciding on the future of the line between Mullum and Bayshore Drive. He also expressed he had doubts about the plausibility of running trains on that section but believed the possibility deserved to be investigated. The Burchills engineering reports tabled at the meeting did not cover this section and Michael’s decision is sensible and responsible.

    Greens councillor, Sarah Ndiaye also voted to progress the trail. I, for one, was very impressed by her speech, which showed she had put a great deal of thought into the issues, which no doubt had put her in a difficult position that was going to leave some people disappointed, whichever way she voted.


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