People living along the Casino-Murwillumbah railway line need to beware if the rail trail goes ahead as people will be able to gain access through their private properties. Bicycle riders may decide to leave the bike path at any time across private property, putting the burden of public liability on landowners.
It seems quite possible that access through private property will be needed for maintenance of the bike path and access for emergency rescue vehicles if there’s an accident. Access to remote, inhospitable and treacherous terrain for emergency services could mean extra strain on those services. Several landowners have stated that possible problems could involve the bike riders leaving gates open and the risk of vandalism to crops, animals or property.
It’s likely that maintenance costs will be handed to local council and this will mean an extra burden on ratepayers. The regular floods in the northern rivers have caused washaways and landslides to the infrastructure in the past and this could mean a drastic increase to the maintenance budget. If this happened would it be the state government or local councils to pay?
P. J. Hill, Nashua