Louise Doran, Ocean Shores
The thousands of people who turned out to ride on the first (solar) train service in Byron Bay since the great train robbery almost 14 years ago demonstrate the overwhelming community support for the return of train services to the north coast.
When north coast train services were cut in 2004, the same incompetent minister for (no) transport planned to stop the Armidale train service. Fortunately their tenacious local independent MP, Tony Windsor, was not going to allow his electorate to be deprived of a vital transport service. The Armidale train was saved and it’s still running.
The uninformed claims that the north coast population, including five million tourists, is not large enough to ensure the viability of regular commuter train service on the Casino to Murwillumbah line is laughable. As is the ridiculous argument that spending tens of millions to rip up the valuable rail line for a bike trail will provide public transport for all.
The often repeated claim that providing a train service would be too expensive has been shown to be rubbish. As we see, the cost to the environment and community amenity of not having a train service is massive.
There’s nothing green or sustainable about championing mega-developments, regardless of how affordable the housing may be, when there’s no basic infrastructure to support those developments.
How much more development and people can be squeezed into Byron Shire and onto our roads before tourists find somewhere more pleasant and affordable to go and the local economy collapses?
The Labor Party, and the Liberal/National parties need to tell the north coast community what their plan is to deal with the increasing traffic congestion and toxic emissions from that traffic which, on their own projections, will double in less than a decade.
Above all, it is hard to fathom the callous disregard of politicians for the number of lives lost and devastating injuries sustained in road accidents, especially at this time of year. The horrific state road toll for this Christmas holiday period is almost double that of 2016.
Traffic congestion, toxic emissions and lack of safe, sustainable public transport are issues having a needless, detrimental impact on the local environment and community, but it seems all political parties are captive to the corporates, who have power to dictate policy way out of proportion to their numbers, thanks to the millions they donate to political parties.
Consequently, political parties are paying lip service to climate change, protecting the environment while allowing the electorate to be over developed and deprived of necessary services.