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June 19, 2021

Landowner concerns over the Murwillimbah rail trail considered

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Image of a bridge in Stokers Siding. One of 18 historic bridges on the proposed Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail trail route. Photo supplied.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail being developed by Tweed Shire Council will be create two reference groups to assist the project team in resolving both landowner and community concerns.

The reference groups will be formed following a workshop held in early 2019 with landowners adjacent to the rail corridor.

Mayor of Tweed Cr Katie Milne moved the motion for a landowner workshop at the 15 November Council meeting, where it passed 5:1, with one councillor absent.

The Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail trail is 24-kilometres long, winding through the villages of Stokers Siding, Burringbar and Crabbes Creek. It features two tunnels, one 523-metres long with ecological values that need to be managed during design and construction; 27 bridges, of which 18 are significant in size or  construction method; and, several heritage items.

A Landowner Consultation Group will provide a platform for landowners to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions among themselves and with the project team.

By inviting the landowners into the project we will be able to collaborate on solutions to both individual landowner issues and group issues as a collective,’ Rail Trail Project Director Iain Lonsdale said.

‘It will encourage innovation and lead to common rather than bespoke solutions, with the possibility of mitigating any landowner distress in these early stages of design.

‘These landowners are our priority stakeholders and we acknowledge that the rail trail will directly affect their lifestyles and, in many cases, their livelihoods.”

The second reference group will be a Rail Trail Sharing Group, comprising representatives from the community, business and industry, chambers of commerce, tourism operators, user groups and others to share ideas and work collectively to drive the economic and social benefits around the rail trail.

Already the Rail Trail Project Team has recorded 14 adjacent landowners seeking business opportunities from the Rail Trail, from cafes and accommodation to development of an interconnecting mountain bike track.

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