There has been so much said about the Railway Corridor over the years.
It has become evident that a lot of what we have been told by authorities and Rail Trail proponents may have an alternative agenda to it.
Here we present some interesting facts that may help you understand further what's REALLY going on.
It is always revealing the amount of backlash received whenever we present the facts on some of these matters.
Ask yourself "why is it that 'they' have been able to rattle off all their words and information over the years, but then attack us so vehemently when we present facts that don't align with their desire to remove the railway tracks?"
If we could design and construct this
in the 1920's why do we hear time and again that it's "too hard" to build
a gravel trail beside the tracks?
By way of Notice of Motion to the Meeting of 21 September 2017 the Council resolved among other things
"1. Notes the full length of the Tweed section of the Rail Trail of 24 km to Crabbes Creek has not benefitted
from any specifically targeted Shirewide consultation and therefore cannot adequately demonstrate
categorical community support as normally required for successful government grant funding.
2. Notes the potential impact for affected landholders with the public traversing of their land unrestrained
3. Brings back a further report to determine an appropriate Shirewide consultation strategy including but
not limited to a survey asking whether the community would prefer:
a) to preserve the rail tracks;
b) to convert the track to a rail trail; or
c) to have dual use of the rail corridor to preserve the rail tracks and provide for a rail trail."
The options for a Shirewide public consultation strategy were detailed in the report to the Council Meeting
of 15 February 2018. The two options put forward considered a holistic approach to ensure that the
community would be fully informed about all of the salient issues and estimates for costs were provided for
each strategy option, in the region of $50-$100k.
A third option provided in the report stated: That Council, given the commitment from the Federal and
State Governments to fund the Rail Trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, and the level of
consultation undertaken to date, not proceed with any further shire wide community engagement or
Council resolved unanimously (with one absentee Councillor) that “the report be received and noted”.
No Shirewide public consultation has ever been actioned. At a Rail Trail Forum held by Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce in March 2018 Councillor Polglase replied to an audience question regarding Community Consultation that "it would cost too much money".
For a project spending almost $15M of public money, surely the public should have a say?
Directlink is a 180 megawatt connection between the NSW and Queensland wholesale electricity markets.
"The next largest project is making the above ground sections of the high voltage cable safe. Directlink cables run next to an abandoned rail line. The Tweed Shire Council is proposing to convert the rail line to a recreational trail. There are concerns that when there is heavy equipment operating close to the cable there is real risk of death should the workers accidentally make contact with the cable. "
"Parts of the path of the Directlink transmission cables are along the easement for the former railway line corridor.The Tweed Shire Council is undertaking the Northern Rivers Rail Trail along this rail corridor. The Rail Trail will provide access to pedestrians and cyclists to the existing rail corridor. The construction will impose a significant construction program adjacent to the above ground cable section in particular and following construction, will increase public access well beyond what was anticipated at the time of construction. This is particularly problematic in that 14 kms of the Directlink cables are above ground."
"Cable Protection - There is increasing development of the hinterland area where Directlink is located. However, there is one development in particular that is likely to result in capital expenditure being necessary to accommodate appropriate shared use of the corridor, being the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. This cable protection is primarily aimed at ensuring the safety of the public and workers on the rail trail. (5M)"
Why is this significant?
Well despite the very obvious concerns raised in the quotes above and the estimated $5M spend required to ensure safety, another response we often hear from the Rail Trail proponents is that 'constructing the Trail beside the tracks will create untold ecological damage due to the machinery access that will be required for an off-formation construction'. However we ask ~ how do they suppose the resolution of this highly dangerous power cable is going to happen without machinery access and major works? As surely the safest result is going to be moving it underground or putting some kind of more solid/secure casing around it, either which will require clearing and digging.
Since it's installation in 2012, when clearing was required for it's construction, all that has grown along the corridor and it's route are camphor laurels, lantana and other noxious weeds, hardly an ecological corridor of any significance. If there is the occasional native tree there is no reason it can't be preserved and the trail built around it. It is a cycle and walking trail after all, not a highway.
It's ironic that the construction of highways create huge areas of clearing, massive heavy machinery use and thousands of tonnes of concrete, yet 'ecologically concerned' Rail Trail proponents tell use that's what we need to be relying on.
Before we go into the details of what the tracks might ACTUALLY cost to restore for Light Rail usage (hint: it's a fraction of what you've been told), let us first address the elephant in the room.
Time and time again we are told "there will never be rail returning to the Northern Rivers line as there are just not the population numbers to warrant the expense". Well in this current climate of population growth and housing crisis in the Northern Rivers how can one warrant spending $14Million on a gravel bike path that will require ongoing maintenance for years to come with no user fees required to contribute to those ongoing expenses? The mind boggles!
At least by retaining the tracks, eventually the revenue generated from a Light Rail service could contribute towards maintenance of both the Railway and Trail.
More COST reports COMING SOON
Have a listen to what these future voters have to say