Geoff Bensley, Byron Bay
I was dismayed by Beth Shelley’s letter from the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG). She stated that the railway line is being ripped up for a bike path that will only be used by a small number of cyclists with money, inclination and fitness and that the corridor is taken away from the majority of the public.
Beth avoided the fact that rail trails are used by walkers, runners, horse riders and people on mobility scooters as well as bikes.
In towns that have rail trails they have the worldwide phenomenon of Parkruns, a 5km run every Saturday morning that is free and run by volunteers. Lismore, Ballina and Kingscliff Parkruns have more than 100 runners every Saturday made up of adults, children and families.
Getting our residents outdoors doing fitness activities in a safe corridor without cars would lower our health and mental costs plus give everyone a chance to meet other locals and visitors. Walking is free for everyone, running is free for everyone, and cycling can be quite cheap on a secondhand bicycle.
Beth is starting to go down the path of a tourist train on the northern rivers corridor, a service that locals cannot afford for general work-travel and pensioners will not get cheap travel.
The cheapest tourist train is in Qld with a fare of $115 for a 155km trip and the government subsidises each trip to the value of $650. When NRRAG start talking about tourist trains just take a look at what is occurring in Gympie with its Mary Valley Rattler tourist train and its $17.5m financial black hole after blowing out from the original $10m reinstatement cost.