Action for Public Transport (N.S.W.) Inc.
|P O Box K606|
|Chief Executive||Haymarket NSW 1240|
|Byron Shire Council||10 January 2018|
|P O Box 219|
Action for Public Transport (NSW) Inc has been campaigning for public transport since 1974. We make this submission on the development application for Wollongbar Motel site D.A. 10.2017.678.1
We are concerned for the preservation of transport corridors. In this case, the corridor is the Casino-Murwillumbah railway, on which services were suspended in 2004. We submit that the corridor would be very useful for future public transport in the region. Noting the importance of tourism to the region, and the traffic congestion on north-south main roads generally between Ballina and Brisbane, we suggest that restoration of regular public transport should be provided for.
We refer to the document "The Byron Line", dated June 2016, prepared by the Mayor and others. It shows a vision for the future which includes public transport. We too have a vision, but we take public transport further. We think the NSW and Queensland governments should work together and obtain a Federal contribution for development of public transport services in the cross-border region stretching from Ballina to the Gold Coast.
In particular, there are possible routes Ballina-Coolangatta (Qld) via the coastal towns and Casino-Lismore-Byron using the abandoned rail corridor. Regardless of whether standard- or narrow-gauge heavy rail, long-distance light rail or indeed any vehicles on an exclusive right-of-way, the public transport services need to reach town centres if they are to function efficiently. This will require unbroken corridors. Byron could be the interchange point for east-west and north-south services and might well require a full-width corridor so that services operating on different technical standards could all use Byron station.
The development application made for Wollongbar Motel site apparently intends to use the railway land as a device to increase the permissible floor space. This would not be possible without the sale of the railway land to the private developer by Transport for NSW. It appears that this is exactly what is proposed. The result would be to remove an important transport corridor from public ownership, creating a short-sighted and needless barrier to the use of the corridor for public transport in the future.
We strongly oppose this short-sighted action by Transport for NSW and we believe the Council should strenuously oppose the sale of the railway land, in the interests of its residents and the environment.