The controversy surrounding the Byron Bypass
AHEAD of Byron Shire Council meeting today, Mayor Simon Richardson said he believes the notice of motion put forward to consider the rail corridor as a possible route for the Byron Bypass seems like "it's a bit of political opportunism".
After a letter was handed down by Ballina MP Tamara Smith, on behalf of the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor Paul Spooner submitted the notion to evaluate the rail corridor as a viable option for the proposed Bypass.
However, Cr Richardson feels this is just another delay of the inevitable.
"I feel for the residents who have perhaps been played, to get their hopes up and many thousands of dollars fighting a court case," Cr Richardson said.
"The reality is any large urban work is going to affect those most directly adjoining it, while it is going to benefit a majority.
"Even before we talk about can it happen in the corridor, the bigger question is should it happen in the corridor, I don't think it should and I also don't believe it can."
After questioned about the letter to the Butler Street Community group the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Mark Coure, released a statement saying: "The NSW Government's position on the concept of using the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor is that the rail corridor is generally unsuitable for road use."
"The rail line is non-operational, but has not been closed," Mr Coure said.
Mayor Richardson said putting a road on the corridor will only help to destroy the vision for the Master Plan.
"As part as the larger urban planning, using Butler Street for the Bypass makes the most sense."
"I acknowledge those on Butler Street will get more cars on their road and so my job is to try to minimise the negative impacts on the few while maximising the benefits of the many."
"That's why we selected that route for the Bypass and I think we should stick with it."
Cr Richardson said it is now important for the community to find a way to come together.
"We've spent a massive amount of money getting the design works, all the approvals, we've now got all the ticks in all the boxes, we are just waiting for that last bit of funding and we are ready to go."
"It's not always a neat easy business, sometimes it can get a bit political, can get a bit messy, I'm just focused on a great outcome for our community."