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Byron Shire
June 13, 2021

Saffin promises $2.9m for community infrastructure

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A file picture of a rail trial. Labor candidate for Page Janellle Saffin has announced funding for a study into a rail trail between Casino and Lismore.
A file picture of a rail trial. Labor candidate for Page Janellle Saffin has announced funding for a study into a rail trail between Casino and Lismore.

A skatepark for Broadwater, an adventure playground for Woodburn and a study into a rail trail between Casino and Lismore are among promises made by Labor candidate for Page Janelle Saffin.

Ms Saffin said a Labor government would provide  $2.9 million for a community infrastructure program to build and upgrade sport and recreational facilities for local families on the Nnorth Coast and northern Rivers.

The package includes:

  •      Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club – $1.2 million
  •      Rushworth Park soccer complex upgrade – $1 million
  •      Broadwater Skate Park – $210,000
  •      Casino to Lismore Rail Trail feasibility study – $65,000
  •      Woodburn Riverside Adventure Playground – $250,00
  •      Casino Showgrounds Canteen Facility – $180,000
  •      Woodburn Riverside Pontoon – $110,000
  •      Colley Park Sports Centre – $150,000

Ms Saffin said the program was designed to allow more people to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles, and to build more connected communities.

‘Modern technology means that people are spending more time on computers and electronic devices – and less time being physically or socially active – than ever before.

‘This is having a pronounced impact on the way our communities function, with fewer people getting involved in local organisations such as sporting clubs or community groups.

‘It’s also having an impact on our health, with the alarming rise of chronic conditions such as diabetes.

‘That’s why it’s so important that we invest in facilities that encourage people to get out of their lounge rooms, being active and social, and participating in community life.

‘The Community Infrastructure Program will not only improve regional sporting facilities, it will ensure local families have access to playgrounds, parks and trails.’

Ms Saffin said she would also fight to deliver funding support for a range of other important local projects, including:

  •     Alstonville swimming pool upgrade – $4m
  •     Albert Park Baseball Complex upgrade – $4m
  •     Oakes Oval upgrade (1.4m)
  •     Replacing wooden bridges in Kyogle – $5m
  •     Woolgoolga Multi-Purpose Centre  – $2.5m
  •     Sustainable Economy Jobs Officers  – to be employed within local councils $3m
  •     Small Towns & Villages scheme to upgrade local community facilities and encourage use of solar energy – $3m
  •     Grafton Men’s shed – $350,000

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  1. The rail trail is dead. So many flawed feasibility studies and the fact nobody wants it has just killed it off. Not to mention the horrendous amount of legislation that still needs to be amended before anything remotely progressive can happen.

    People like the NRRT and other rail trail proponents need to realise that the rail trail proposals as they are currently structured will NEVER get off the ground. A cheaper, and all round better option is to put the rail trail beside the tracks. This way in in place all over NSW right now, at significantly less cost to the taxpayer than the trails-over-rails option. Places like Toronto near Sydney are getting the benefits from their cycling trail, but there is also the opportunity to re-instate trains as the tracks are still there.

    The rail trail proposal as it currently stands will never get off the ground. The legislation, lack of community support and sheer cost just so a handful of die-hard athletes can ride a bike is too much.

    The railway line from Casino – Lismore is in optimal condition with a very small amount of timer bridges, some even of concrete construction, and the fact that Lismore is the biggest city here, makes a rail service to Lismore the most cost effective and viable thing to do. Many people I come across think it is just plain stupid that the Northern Rivers has a rail service to Casino (Population: Bugger all), let Lismore (population 29,388+) has nothing more than some poorly timetabled and frankly useless busses.

    If Lismore really is the “population centre” then why does that “population centre” have almost any form of transport to help the commutes, young people in particular get to places like TAFE?

    Come on Janelle, if you are really serious about communities then you would not be wasting OUR money on something they are extremely unlikely to use, just so a handful of cyclists can have their way.

    • Edit to my previous comment:

      Fifth para: “any” is meant to be no, “commutes is meant to be communities”
      Fourth para: “timer” is meant to be timber
      Second para: The first “in” is supposed to be is. It should read “This way is in place all over NSW right now,”

      Auto correct has not been helping in any way lol

  2. It is my understanding that the track from Casino to Lismore is in the best and most viable condition, so wouldn’t it make sense to restore a rail service there? After all Lismore is bigger than most country towns serviced by rail in NSW anyway so the demand is there. I

    I would like to think a rail trail would benefit more than those who campain for it, but I really don’t see that many people riding in the sweltering heat as a novelty, and I can gurantee nobody will use it as a way of getting around.

  3. Unbelievable! Another handout for another rail trail feasibility study? Didn’t the Northern Rivers Rail Trail receive $50,000+ to prepare a feasibility study for a NSW Infrastructure Grant for rail trails in 2015? That was last year! The NRRT group were asking for $50 million from that grant, PLUS $700,000 a year for ten years to maintain their “trail.”

    Interesting that Ms Janelle Saffin as the ALP candidate for Page is now promising funding for yet another rail trail study while the ALP candidate for the State seat of Ballina in 2015, Paul Spooner, lent his support to retaining the railway infrastructure.

    The Greens have always advocated for public transport and have been instrumental in pushing for light rail in many parts of Australia. State Member for Ballina Tamara Smith is supportive of opening up the rail lines again and Dawn Walker, candidate for the federal seat of Richmond will hopefully come on board and lend support to opening up the line again for local transport options.

    Has anyone heard from the LNP on this matter?

    I am the proponent of the Byron Bay TramLink concept which will provide a tourist and local transport service and link key areas within the Byron Shire. The concept will also provide local employment and training in several vocational areas, and any candidate who supports small and community business deserves your support.

    Peter Finch
    Byron Bay TramLink


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