It's official: Byron's roads are a mess

BYRON Shire Residents will see a rate increase through the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in order for Council to fix heavily pot-holed and falling apart roads.

After weeks of heavy rainfall and flooding many roads within Byron Shire are significantly destroyed.

Byron Shire Council said that majority of the roads that were built many years ago, were not designed to withstand such a harsh climate and intensification of vehicular traffic.

They said it was through chronic under-funding of essential road maintenance and renewal by successive councils has well and truly led to these terrible conditions on local roads.

Council General Manager, Ken Gainger, said the Council had been facing and dealing with the harsh reality that the only way to fix the pot holes was to reconstruct many kilometres of sealed roads across the shire.

An expense solution that was predicted to cost $715,000 per kilometre.

"A band aide approach of cyclic pot-hole repair is a road to no where," Mr Gainger said.

"It is for this reason that the Council had no choice but to push for a special rate rise through (IPART) in order to make significant in-roads into the Council's inherited infrastructure renewal back-log.

"This was tough decisions for the elected Council to make and it is a credit to them that they recognised the significance of the roads problem and took what they knew would be an unpopular decision."

In the last four years Council has increased road expenditure from $4 million in 2012 to $16 million in 2016.

Mr Gainger assured ratepayers that the additional revenue generated would be dedicated to infrastructure renewal.

"Hopefully our residents can see the efforts that we are making to provide roads that better meet community expectations."

Works are continuing on large roads projects across the Shire including:

  • A new two lane roundabout at Sunrise Boulevard on Ewingsdale Road,
  • Repairs to Belongil Creek Bridge
  • A tender which is about to be advertised for a new two lane roundabout at the Ewingsdale Road Bayshore Drive intersection at the Industrial Estate.
  • And the Byron Bypass road - which Council says is moving closer to being in a position to start development.

Mr Gainger said Council was also actively lobbying the NSW State Government for further roads funding and was pursuing legislative change that would support bed tax to visitors staying in Byron accommodation and enable Council to charge business rates for holiday lets.

"If our lobbying is successful the additional revenue created would help to ease the burden of ratepayers in funding infrastructure damaged by two million tourists each year," he said.

The Council will place its annual road works schedule on its website, which is all part of the Council's plan to be more open and transparent in decision-making with its local community.