Push for dual-use trail

Coun­cil’s rail trail plans gath­er­ing speed

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Ais­ling Bren­nan ais­ling.bren­nan@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

TWEED Shire Coun­cil is back on track with its plans to build the North­ern Rivers Rail Trail.

While the ex­act de­sign of the 24km trail from Mur­willum­bah to Crabbes Creek is yet to be fi­nalised, the coun­cil has unan­i­mously sup­ported amend­ing the Tweed Lo­cal En­vi­ron­men­tal Plan to ac­com­mo­date nec­es­sary plan­ning pro­ce­dures.

The de­ci­sion will also see any fu­ture plan­ning as­sess­ment car­ried out by coun­cil­lors rather than del­e­gated au­thor­i­ties, un­der Part 5 of the En­vi­ron­ment Plan­ning and As­sess­ment Act 1979.

As the coun­cil con­tin­ues to work to meet its June 2020 dead­line to com­plete the rail trail project, Coun­cil­lor Chris Cherry once again lob­bied for the dual-use de­sign to be se­lected.

Cr Cherry said a dual-use rail trail would al­low the ex­ist­ing rail­way tracks to be kept in place for any fu­ture prospects of rail re­turn­ing to the re­gion.

“I think that’s much more in keep­ing with Trans­port NSW and their in­ten­tion for this land for the pur­pose of po­ten­tial rail,” she said.

“If we put (the rail trail) be­side the track and we make it pos­si­ble that Trans­port NSW can de­velop a rail­way on that land, we’re not spend­ing money on a project that will need to be ripped up in the fu­ture any­way.

“We need to try to ac­com­mo­date the dual-use op­tion. Peo­ple are say­ing we want the trains.”

Mayor Katie Milne also backed the dual-use de­sign for the rail trail.

“We’re try­ing to make it as open and avail­able for all uses (as pos­si­ble),” Cr Milne said. “To (po­ten­tially) have the clas­sic tram back on our tracks would al­low peo­ple to come back up to our her­itage town of Mur­willum­bah.”

The coun­cil has been awarded $13 mil­lion in fed­eral and state gov­ern­ment fund­ing to build the rail trail, and it is set to in­ject up to $900,000 into the project.

It is work­ing on con­cept de­sign and en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments ahead of open­ing the ten­der process, which is ex­pected to be awarded this year.

The ten­der will ac­cept plans to build ei­ther be­side or on top of ex­ist­ing tracks.

If we put (the rail trail) be­side the track... then we’re not spend­ing money on a project that will need to be ripped up in the fu­ture.

— Cr Chris Cherry

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