Solution closer for Byron traffic

BYRON Bay's long-suffering bypass proposal took a new turn at a four-hour community meeting on Tuesday night, with most groups reporting a positive outcome.

Byron Shire councillors and staff met with about 70 residents including Ballina MP Don Page and Byron United president Paul Waters at the community centre to explore traffic options under a new State Government.

Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said the now newly christened "ring road" was the best thing to come out of the meeting.

"Seven councillors were there and the reality is we're all committed to delivering something. Under the previous State Government we had some real constraints being able to access the State Rail land and I think Don Page is really committed to helping us sort through some of those problems," Cr Barham said.

Mr Page said that although the bypass/ring road was a local council issue, there were State Government issues he could assist with.

"I said to the meeting that I am very keen to help the community and council solve what is a real problem in terms of traffic congestion," Mr Page said.

"I also said the community, via council, has to come up with a clear preferred option if they want me to lobby in relation to the land issues and possible funding assistance.

"I've already got permission from the new Minister for Trans- port (Gladys Berejiklian) to have a second (railway) crossing, something the previous State Government was reluctant to give."

Cr Barham said a solid plan was in place and an initial trial was close to fruition.

"That's something I put to council three years ago but we were up against the previous State Government not supporting a second crossing and the rail authority not being willing to allow us to do a trial without purchasing the land," she said.

Byron Shire Council community infrastructure executive manager Phil Holloway described the meeting as unique and successful.

Mr Holloway said while many good ideas were raised (or raised again) three points became very clear.

"First, there is no single solution to the problems faced.

"Second, the word bypass is a misnomer, with a ring road or access road more accurate and appropriate for the problems faced.

"Third, something has to be done as to do nothing is not an option," he said.

Byron United president Paul Waters it was "pleasing to hear the Mayor say something positive and echo the words of Byron United".

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