CONTROVERSIAL plans for a bypass of Byron Bay's town centre have been approved.
The independent Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) made a decision on the $10 million application last night.
The bypass will be about 1.3km in length and aims to help cars, cyclists and pedestrians to move around Byron Bay and ease traffic congestion in the town centre.
It will include:
- Constructing a new road with a pavement width of 10m
- Upgrading the existing roundabout at the intersection of Shirley, Lawson and Butler Sts
- Constructing a new roundabout at the intersections of: Butler and Somerset Streets; Jonson and Browning Streets; Butler and Browning Streets
- Additional works including pedestrian crossings, pathways, drainage and infrastructure
- A new level rail crossing where Browning St crosses the rail line
- Removal of one tree near the police station on Shirley St
- Possible removal of a number of trees opposite Butler Street Reserve
- Removal of 1.21ha of native vegetation for the southern exit at Butler St and the western exit at Browning St.
JRPP chairman, Garry West, said the decision was made after hearing community and stakeholder submissions.
"The proposal was exhibited for over a month from late February and received 42 submissions," he said.
"A near identical proposal was submitted to (Byron Shire) Council in June 2015 but was withdrawn in February this year as it did not include an agreement to offset land in response to clearing.
"This proposal received 609 submissions which were also considered in the assessment of the current proposal."
Issues raised during consultation included the bypass location and length, effects on adjoining wetland, noise and amenity issues, potential impacts on the market site, lack of assessment of alternative routes and whether rail corridor could be used, and loss of on street parking.
"A bypass in this area has been discussed and planned for by the council since the 1980s," Mr West said.
"A number of options have been considered and the approved route will have the smallest impacts on the environment and approximately half of the road is situated on an existing built road corridor."
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