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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Rail, trails and public money

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The success of constructing and maintaining a road, a highway, a hospital or a school (the list goes on) is not measured by the direct return of the money spent. Those are not-for-profit businesses, whose only goal is direct monetary return on investment.

They are firstly  judged by their overall benefits, which they contribute to the region they are in, be it indirectly adding to the financial wealth of the region (creating jobs, attracting people who spend money which they otherwise would not).

Even for profit businesses make strategic decisions, which does not benefit them directly in the short term, but pays in other ways.

Secondly such investments in the region will be judged by the social, environmental and other benefits they create, the quality of life they enhance in the long term.

This is the yardstick by which rail has to be measured. Around the world regional railways, and for that matter city rails, are not run to make direct profits, but they bring substantial benefits to the region or the city.

We need and deserve good governance, which is open and transparent, something missing in the rail and trail debate to date.

Jens Krause, Byron Bay

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  1. Yes we all need a train to pick up the fast growing population corridor from Coolangatta /Tweed Heads to Kingscliff /Pottsville to Ocean Shores/Brunswick past the Ewingsdale Hospital to Byron Bay and on thru massive residential areas of Lennox Head and Ballina.The new road from Ballina to Lismore is more than sufficient to be covered by buses that can go via Southern Cross Uni,St Vincent’s and The Base hospitals.
    Interchanges on the this train route can then be handled by buses dropping people almost at their doors in there respective towns.For transport to work effectively you must live less than 400 metre walking distance from a bus route or 800 metres walking distance from a train station.The older generation or mobility impaired people cannot be expected to walk or ride more than 1km to a train station in this hot,wet and humid climate.
    The dying small towns need tourism dollars and a consistent bus service to survive .Feed these towns with cashed up baby boomers on bikes riding the old rail corridor.This is a win,win for a broad spectrum of our community .
    To get workers ,Uni and school students ,tourists to use a train then it must get from Point A to Point B,C or D quickly or they will just drive cars.
    Again I say think broadly about options for public transport and not what just suits you but the whole of the Northern Rivers .Yes for trains on a well thought out route and yes for buses to better suite “door to door” delivery.

  2. wake up Geoff, a rail down the coast to Ballina will never happen. it must cost a fortune since the Ballina section was the only part of Don Page’s rail study that had no costs provided.
    Residents of the fast growing Ocean Shores are closer to services at Murwillumbah than they are to Ballina or Lismore.
    while a Ballina Rail line would be great, Lennox Heads is not Huge. the coastal route doesnt even include Mullumbimby and Bangalow, where a lot of people live and travel to work and University in Lismore. And really, when you dont have a car and you have to hitch hike from north of Byron to Lismore to go to Uni (which takes anywhere from 1-3hours), you wouldnt mind catching a train and a connecting bus to get there, because at the moment you have to change buses anyway!


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