SNAIL STOUSH: An example of the rare Mitchell's Rainforest Snail. This one has a tracking device attached as part of a separate study.
SNAIL STOUSH: An example of the rare Mitchell's Rainforest Snail. This one has a tracking device attached as part of a separate study. John Waddell

Slimy stoush: How a rare snail is dividing the Greens

A STOUSH over rare Mitchell's rainforest snails living in a section of Byron Bay swamp, soon to become the Butler Street Bypass, is dividing local Greens.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith has asked supporters via Facebook to write to the Commonwealth Environment Minister to voice concerns over the fate of the snail.

She provides a range of dot points that could be used in supporter's letters, including abandoning the current bypass route in favour of the existing rail corridor.

Greens councillor Michael Lyon has politely but firmly told Ms Smith she is 'misguided' in her attempts to influence the process around protecting the snails.

"This is a regulated process under the EPBC Act and science will dictate the outcome, not politics and pro-formas," he said.

"I'd sooner have our state member focus on the vast swathes of land clearing in NSW for crops and pasture, rather than our tiny bit (being used for) essential infrastructure."

Cr Lyons and other Greens councillors remain happy with the current process with mayor Simon Richardson saying the council was committed to a scientific process rather than a political one.

"We worked with the state environment assessors and our long awaited (bypass) was approved and supported," he said.

"Now we have worked alongside the federal environment regulators to provide them with the information they sought and we will await their assessment.

"We are committed to ensure funds released as part of this project are used to minimise flooding in the CBD and to enhance and improve the impacted environment and its surrounds."

Tamara Smith hit back at detractors in her own party saying, "I am not going to apologise for trying to protect native fauna".

"Byron council referred themselves to the Federal Government and I have simply asked those with concerns to make a submission so we can get legal protection for the snails."