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Byron Bay Bypass

Byron Bay Bypass approved by Joint Regional Planning Panel

The Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) has approved the Byron Bay Bypass DA (10.2015.384.1)

To view the EIS and BioBanking Statement follow this link:

What is the Joint Regional Planning Panel?

Joint regional planning panels provide independent, merit-based decision making on regionally significant development. Applications for regionally significant development are notified and assessed by a local council professional staff and then determined by the relevant regional panel. [Source -]

Byron Bay Bypass court challenge

The Butler Street Network has commenced proceedings in the Land an Environment Court challenging the Bypass approval.

Click here, for Frequently Asked Questions on the project

Proposed Project timeline

Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements

The application to proceed with the Byron Bay Bypass was lodged in December 2014 with Department of Planning and Environment for the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). In response, the department has provided guidance on the environmental assessment and community engagement activities required for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project which are listed below.

  • Project justification – including need for project and project history, including consistency with the Far North Coast Regional Strategy and other relevant strategic planning documents;
  • Route selection – analysis of benefits and impacts of investigated routes, and feasibility of alternative routes, including land within the existing rail corridor;
  • Biodiversity – direct and indirect impacts on terrestrial, riparian and aquatic flora and fauna and habitat, and groundwater dependent ecosystems, within and surrounding the proposed development footprint, taking into account threatened species, ecological communities and critical habitat listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and Fisheries Management Act 1994, including consideration of activities requiring approval or concurrence under the Fisheries Management Act 1994. The EIS must specifically outline how Principle 10 of the NSW Wetlands Policy is addressed. Offset requirements must be considered as part of the assessment;
  • Land use – detail the impact on and from surrounding current and future land uses, including issues relating to adjoining areas and an analysis of site suitability with respect to potential land use conflicts. Specific consideration should be given to impacts of the widened and more formal verge on residential and business premises along and in close proximity to the proposed route, and construction and operational impacts on market activities in the Butler Street reserve;
  • Traffic – include a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) prepared by an appropriately qualified person and in accordance with Austroads guidelines. The TIA must identify the impacts of the proposal on the safety and efficiency of the road network during construction and operation with consideration to be given over an appropriate planning horizon. Details of the proposed connection to MR545 must be provided. Any works on MR545 must be designed in accordance with Austroads guidelines;
  • Transport – assessment of the proposed crossing of the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line in accordance with the Construction of New Level Crossings Policy and Protocol for New Level Crossings/Change in Use of a Level Crossing, assessment of direct and indirect impacts of the proposal on public transport, consideration of walking and cycling infrastructure connecting to and across the bypass, and assessment of impacts on the future implementation of a ‘rail trail’ within and/or adjacent to the railway corridor;
  • Non-Aboriginal heritage – including direct and indirect impacts, including vibration, on local and State heritage items (including but not limited to the Byron Bay Railway Station group) and on archaeological relics. The EIS must include a description of strategies to mitigate impacts, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of those strategies. All heritage assessment must be carried out by a suitably qualified and experience heritage consultant, and archaeological excavation, if required, must be carried out by a person who meets the Heritage Council of NSW Criteria for the Assessment of Excavation Directors;
  • Aboriginal heritage – a description of the actual potential harm posed to Aboriginal objects or declared Aboriginal places with reference to identified cultural heritage values, of measures to avoid, mitigate or manage actual or likely harm, and of how the consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders has been conducted with regard to relevant legislation and guidelines;
  • Noise and vibration – assess the likely impacts during construction and operation in accordance with relevant road noise and vibration guidelines, and the effectiveness of any necessary measures to manage and mitigate construction and operational noise and vibration;
  • Surface and groundwater hydrology – impacts on creeks, waterways and wetlands, including potential impacts on groundwater levels, salinity, potential contamination of groundwater, bank erosion, siltation, and downstream water quality. The assessment must include a concept stormwater plan including surface water drainage patterns;
  • Flooding – flood impacts, including impacts on and/or changes to flood behaviour, flood immunity levels of the proposed road, and contingency measures in the event of operational impacts due to flooding;
  • Soil and water quality – detail the potential occurrence of contaminated and/or acid sulfate soils and likely impacts from the disturbance of those soils, including impacts on water quality. This must include an assessment of contamination and/or acid sulfate soil risks resulting from the proposal;
  • Air quality – detail construction air quality impacts to nearby receivers;
  • Visual Amenity – include an assessment of changes to visual amenity, with reference to surface components and vegetation removal and include proposed mitigation measures, including proposed landscaping and other visual screening; and
  • Environmental Monitoring and Management – the EIS must describe in detail what measures would be implemented to manage, mitigate or offset the potential impacts of the proposal (as identified above) during construction and operation as relevant, and where required, describe how the environmental performance of the proposal would be monitored and managed over time. Where possible, reasonable and feasible mitigation measures should be developed in consultation with surrounding affected landowners and relevant public authorities.

Preferred Route Report 2014

During 2014, Council has resolved to progress the bypass of Byron Bay town centre via the engagement of a third party to undertake all the planning, assessment and design work required to have the project approved for construction. The approval authority (NSW Planning) will establish the criteria for the Environmental Impact Study (EIS).  This pre construction work is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

The alignment of the new road, within the  road corridor, will be part of the EIS. Council have however resolved the preferred route be as depicted, that is west of the rail corridor via the utilisation of the existing Butler Street and its corridor from the Shirley Street roundabout (near the Police station) south to its end, then a new road be built to continue the bypass within the road reserve alignment that would see a new rail crossing connect to the southern end of Jonson Street east of the rail line, thereby creating a new intersection at Browning Street (near Mitre 10) and utilizing unbuilt land Council own and retained for such purpose.

Recent History

In 2008, Council and RMS part fund the main road 545 strategic road network study (MR545 Study). This study was reported to Council 9 April 2009 and made various recommendations regarding the main road network comprising of Ewingsdale Road, Broken Head Road and Byron Bay.

Key to any new road linking north-west to south of Byron Bay is the location of a new rail crossing. The MR545 Study considered two locations. NSW Cross Border Transport taskforce recommends the feasibility of one be investigated. Council commenced such investigations including encouraging meetings and correspondence with NSW Transport Minister and state rail representatives.

During 2010, a trial of a rail crossing at the former emergency crossing site (immediately south of the Byron Bay town centre) was rejected by Council who in the same year withdraw their own 2001 Development Application for the bypass on the basis the project can not be done as a DA (or Council as approval authority).

By the end of 2011, following various staff reports or updates, development of concepts and discussions, Council held a well attended public meeting. Due to the variety of suggestions put forth a Byron Bay Traffic and Parking Management (BBTPM) Project Reference Group (PRG) was formed. This group of resident, business and community representatives met in the first half of 2012 and provide several recommendations to Council including consideration of alternative options known as the major (or long or full) bypass, the mini-bypass or a Byron Street link (which in effect duplicates Shirley Street connecting Kendall St through to town).

In September 2012 a new Council term commenced, including briefings to the new Council on the bypass. During 2013 staff reports and preliminary investigations are undertaken on the bypass options. By 2014 Council resolve a preferred alignment that delivers the full town centre bypass west of the rail line..

Council Reports

Byron Bay Town Centre Bypass EIS April 2001