Mini-bypass plan just about buried
THE final nail hasn't quite been driven into the coffin, but the much-maligned mini-bypass plan for Byron Bay is just about dead and buried.
Byron Mayor Cr Simon Richardson and the council have made it clear that if there is to be a bypass, it will be the longer Butler St option.
Cr Richardson said the mini-bypass proposal needed to be "put to bed" with the focus switching to the ramifications of the longer bypass.
He said none of the numerous reports prepared on the bigger bypass over the years had given any indication of how much it would cost.
The bigger bypass plan had to be properly costed and other issues, including environmental impacts and how the council could mitigate habitat loss, had to be explored, he said.
But Cr Richardson also made it clear that a bypass was only one part of a solution to deal with the town's major
He said he supported a longer bypass, but not in isolation.
What he would like to see - and he's pushing hard for it - is the introduction of a park and ride system, possibly utilising the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex in Ewingsdale Road and Red Devil Park on the southern side of town.
To this end, the council has agreed to apply for dollar-for-dollar Regional Development Australia funding for the scheme.
Other aspects of the proposed scheme include the introduction of a bus transit lane in Shirley St, an entrance into the Jonson St (North) car park for buses, closing Jonson St from Marvell St to Bay St to traffic and creating a pedestrian precinct as well as changing parking time limits.
Cr Richardson said if the council could access the funding, it would bring significant economic and environmental benefits for the region.
"Easier access to the town centre has potential to create a more enjoyable visitor experience, cut down on carbon emissions, create a pedestrian precinct and allow quicker access for residents travelling through town from Suffolk Park to the industrial estate," he said.
"To be able to walk along a Jonson St pedestrian precinct to the beach would be a fantastic addition to the town's streetscape and add significantly to the relaxed beach lifestyle that is so highly valued in Byron Bay."
Cr Richardson cites the success of a park and ride scheme at Noosa as a good reason for pushing on with a similar scheme at Byron Bay.
He said a survey had shown the project at Noosa had been an overwhelming success.
A decision on the council's funding application is expected next February.