The rail trail is not just about a walking track; it’s about ecotourism and host communities, festivals and events, employment, education and workplace training, mental and physical health, equity for the disabled, habitat and wildlife corridors and, most importantly, future legacies. It would showcase our natural environment and our beautiful lifestyle to the world.
It will most certainly prove to be a prime example of the type of public infrastructure that is urgently needed nationally to address a challenging mass of ills that confront contemporary society. It could be part of a new way of thinking about walking and riding and public health and happiness, particularly in the regions.
As a valid means of transport or for the sheer joy of it, a journey along the rail trail would be safe from traffic and free of exhaust fumes. It would be quiet, interesting, social, comfortable and beautiful and it could inspire the sort of personal changes that people find difficult to make. It may also add impetus to the development of a nationally integrated pedestrian and cycling network.
But here’s the thing that’s a knockout: no other rail trail in the world has an internationally renowned tourism hotspot like Byron Bay sitting right in the middle of it, flush with the tourism dollars (and a perfect-fit tourism demographic) that can ultimately pay for the rail trail and guarantee it a very profitable future.
William Jeffery, Nimbin