Louise Doran, Ocean Shores.
If the people who want to rip up the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line are so convinced there’s no community support for a regular commuter train service from Casino to Coolangatta Airport, to service eight out of ten of the north coast population centres and two million tourists, they wouldn’t need to spend so much time writing desperate letters full of misinformation.
As they’re unable to do the most rudimentary research the following may help them out: as reported in the Byron Shire Echo on the 10 June 2015, a petition with another 3,500 signatures was handed to Ballina MP Tamara Smith.
Northern Rivers Railway Action Group had also collected another 2,000 signatures-bringing the total number of signatures in support of a regular, modern, clean, safe, sustainable rail service sent to state parliament to a total of over 15,000.
These signatures were collected by locals from locals around the Northern Rivers.
Online petitions don’t count as they can be signed by people anywhere in the world.
It’s okay for people from Nimbin to want to rip up the line, they don’t experience the preposterous traffic congestion, carbon emissions, the stress and disruption to their daily lives as people on the coast and in Byron do.
Like Thomas George in Lismore, who almost lost his seat at the last election, Ms Smith understands the overwhelming community support for train services and the Greens have committed to not ripping up a valuable piece of public infrastructure, the rail lines, but support a bike path along side the rail line, such as the one on the Bellarine Peninsular in Victoria.
Regular train services on the line is the only hope of reducing the traffic congesting in Byron, and other coastal towns, that destroy the environment and quality of life.
It’s really hard to fathom why a couple of cyclists are so bloody minded about unnecessarily wasting over $75 million of taxpayers’ money destroying the line, when we can have both: a cycle path and train services.
What a handful of cyclists believe about the community support for rail services is academic anyway.
What train supporters are focused on is the three kilometers of line in Byron which has been repaired for just over $1m; not the $6 million per kilometer the state government claimed it would cost in their disgraceful $2 million ‘study’.
Best of all, it’s not costing taxpayers or ratepayers a single, solitary cent.
When the Byron train is running next month it will be very obvious what the community wants.