Byron Residents’ Group will always look for proper analysis, research, process and community consultation. The Butler Street Bypass is being pushed through without any of these.
The following is from Grab the Rail – not everyone would agree that their plan for a bypass is the right one but the information is here for you to study and draw your own conclusions:
The most comprehensive traffic study — including designed and costed solutions — for Byron Bay was undertaken from 1995 to 2001 culminating in the 2001 Environmental Impact Statement and Species Impact Statements. This work was funded by a $450,000 grant in 1998 from the Department of Transport.
The outcome was a 2 lane bypass with capacity to expand to 4 lanes along the then rail corridor with safety offset distances from the then operational trail line. This was stage one from Shirley Street to Browning Street. A planning horizon, effectively the use by date for the functionality of this proposal given the predicted traffic growth over time was 2010.
Stage 2 then was proposed and that was a link from the Caltex/Woollies service station along the Byron Street road reserve behind the current hospital linking to Stage one route along the rail corridor. This proposal was envisaged to be required by 2015. The forecasts in this document are completely accurate and we find ourselves now in 2015 with all the traffic chaos predicted and no effective solution.
But it gets worse. We have a silly & destructive proposals like Cr Rose Wanchap’s routing of major through traffic right up toward the beachfront and most busy pedestrian area with her link road through the Jonson Street north carpark and up onto Bay Street in front of the Beach Hotel. We have a proposed widening of Shirley Street to 3 lanes which will become 4 lanes so that our entry to town becomes a multi-lane parking lot of fuming cars in front of our busiest motel and tourist accommodation establishments threatening the historic avenue of pines and choking access to and from apartments and houses. Meanwhile retiring MP Don Page and his National Party are working tirelessly to prevent the use of the rail corridor in Byron for multi modal transport & bypass instead wanting to foist a hopelessly inadequate Butler Street bypass on the town because they want the rail corridor for the exclusive use of the Rail Trail. Don Page & the National’s offer of more bus services in light of this can only be seen as a cruel joke with more buses jammed in traffic and no sensible bus transit centre plan.
The proposed Butler Street bypass will destroy and fragment over a hectare of SEPP 14 wetlands including endangered species, it will force the local markets out of town, it will destroy a heritage neighbourhood and open up the rail corridor reserve to intensive urbanisation.
Everyone need to take a deep breath and review the past work on the Byron bypass, consider the legitimate claims of the local residents, the serious impacts that have been identified and the true values of our environment and cultural heritage. This is what a 5 year study culminating in 2001 undertook. Nothing has changed much except a National Party intent on eliminating the natural resource of the towns rail corridor from the people of Byron Bay and handing it over to tourism and private interest.
Here is link to the 2001 EIS documents including the Grab The Rails proposal.