The question of community input into if, and how the train or rail trail should proceed is being questioned by Tweed Shire Council mayor Katie Milne at the next council meeting on September 21 in Tweed Heads.
‘I have a notice of motion on this Council agenda regarding my concerns about whether the community as a whole has had much involvement or input into this very expensive project,’ said mayor Milne.
The Greens mayor will then also be speaking at an open public forum about the rail corridor from Casino to Murwillumbah, to be held at the Murwillumbah Community Centre from 6pm on Monday September 25.
Beth Shelly from the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRG) said, ‘We are not aware of any consultations that have taken place with the community and there are issues that many people are not aware of and this is an opportunity to share this information.’
Other speakers who will address the forum include NSW Greens transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi and Northern Rivers Railway Action Group member Geoff Reid.
‘Come along and grab the opportunity to discuss real public transport options for the future. An eight train a day commuter rail service that extends to the Tweed and Gold Coast is the big picture for this region. Connecting cycleways with rail and buses to develop an integrated plan to get cars off the road will cut transport emissions and deliver real transport and ecotourism outcomes for all people,’ continued Shelley.
‘We are totally supportive of having both the rail trail and the train. In Victoria there are areas where they have rail trails beside the trains that works well.’
Dr Mehreen Faruqi says, ‘I would like to talk about the shambles that is transport planning from this government as well as the need for a sustainable and integrated public transport plan for the long term, with a focus on the environment and community, not private interests.’
Other issues to be considered are ‘local farm biosecurity plans and livelihoods to proposed unregulated tourist movements through property boundaries along the rail corridor,’ said Geoff Reid.
The concern is that the current legislation that is before the state government will allow the rail corridor to become crown land removing current protections that keep the land from being sold off of leased to developers.
‘Given the Tweed Shire Council has once again resubmitted their rail trail proposal for funding to the federal government we believe we need to engage the communities of Murwillumbah and the Tweed in helping to protect the rail corridor,’ finished Shelley.