An artist's impression of the Byron Bay Interchange, subject to detailed design.
An artist's impression of the Byron Bay Interchange, subject to detailed design.

Unexpected discovery stops work on major project

WORK on Byron Bay's new bus interchange has been brought to a halt after an unexpected discovery.

While the public car park was being excavated, contractors noticed evidence of shells under the removed material.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said the Sydney Trains Unexpected Finds Protocol was followed by the contractor, who immediately stopped all work in the area and fenced off the potential archaeological find.

"A qualified archaeologist was engaged to conduct a preliminary assessment into the find to determine if it is a midden," the spokesperson said.

Arakwal, the Native Title holders, have made contact with the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The site was assessed by archaeologists and a preliminary report will soon be available.

Work will not resume in this area of the site until the investigation is complete and works are cleared to resume in consultation with the appropriate stakeholders.

Should the finding be of significance, TNSW/Sydney Trains will enact any recommendations to ensure the preservation of the midden.

The Sydney Trains Unexpected Finds Protocol ensures that Sydney Trains is compliant with NSW legislation.

This requires all works in the area to cease and have the site inspected by an appropriately qualified subject matter expert.

The vision for the new interchange will include new pick-up and drop-off zones, increased parking and seating and improved pedestrian access.

The South Lawson St car park will be getting 30 new parking spots and this will include an accessible space and four motorbike spaces.

The Rails car park will have 57 new parking spaces, including three accessible spaces and an additional eight staff parking spaces.

Both facilities will have upgrades to drainage, surface improvements, lighting and CCTV.

Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation has been contacted for comment.