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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Developers follow the trains

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Those who wish for a commuter train service for the northern rivers seem oblivious to what such a service will bring… urban sprawl of a kind never seen here before.

In Sydney it is high-rise apartments along all of the rail lines and massive retail/ apartment towers at the stations. On the Gold Coast it has brought urban blight of the worst kind seen in this country.

Next time you drive back home down the Brisbane motorway, notice the difference when you cross the border into beautiful, green, undeveloped NSW, and thank your lucky stars that we don’t have an urban rail structure. Developers are attracted to rail infrastructure like flies to a sheep’s arse.

Bring on the rail trail!

John Amphlett, Byron Bay

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  1. What John Amphlett fails to recognise is that there is very little land left to ‘develop’ across the Northern Rivers. Only those areas already designated for development (such as Cumbalum in Ballina) and several small pockets around Bangalow can be developed for residential use. The rest is largely deemed agricultural land and would require a major overhaul of a number of LEPs to change it.

    Wanting a commuter train service between our towns is about providing safe, affordable and alternative means to using the roads. The Northern Rivers is extremely poorly serviced by public transport and many people can’t get to employment, study etc because of this.

    The rail service existed here for many years without urban sprawl, while on the Gold Coast etc the sprawl was already under way and has been for many decades. This has more to do with planning laws than availability of trains. Bringing back our train does not suddenly threaten the beauty and tranquility of our region – far from it.

    I would prefer to see public transport on our disused train tracks – or at least a combination of light rail and other leisure purposes. I would happily commute between Byron, Bangalow and Lismore by train and so would many others who travel on our dangerous roads daily for work and study.

  2. The priority now – if we are to get anything happening on the corridor is to be all co-operating. If there are opposing groups, we are unlikely to get any funding for anything as it will be easier for government to give money to areas where the public are all in favour.
    Unfortunately the reality is that money for trains is not forthcoming so campaigning for trains for another 10 years will result in nothing happening to the corridor apart from it getting more overgrown or maybe sold off to private developers.
    The future feasibility for the rail trail will hopefully look at light rail in parts as well.
    We all want the corridor to be accessible to the public. That is the main aim.


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