Railways and their surrounds continue to be a contentious issue across the Northern Rivers and the possible sale of railway land in Lismore has raised local opposition.
Members of Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG) say they were shocked to see that railway land adjacent to the railway lines near Lismore Station have been offered for sale under an online auction process being held over a very short three days from May 6 to 8.
They say this is being done with no ability to see who may be buying these properties which include buildings/sheds and land.
NRRAG questions the legality of sale of one of the sites, falling within the required 15 metre protection zone as requisite rail corridor beside the rail lines, as well as two buildings being heritage listed!
‘Concerns are great that if a “rail trail bill” should go before NSW parliament and be passed, that the current protection (Transport Administration Act 1988, section 99A) will be lost, as it reverts to Crown land status,’ says spokesperson Lydia Kindred. ‘Such land will then be open to sale and development, which many people in our region do not want and demand be protected, for this valuable railway infrastructure and important publicly owned asset.’
NRRAG says that there has been no community consultation to ascertain if the majority of citizens want a ‘rail trail’ to take the place of the current railway lines as we believe this is a statutory requirement before any major changes to legislation occur. ‘Through our research we have ascertained that a large majority of the community and local businesses want the return of rail services to our Northern Rivers region and that the cost would not be prohibitive.
‘The community demands adequate public consultation before any application for changes to the current protective legislation are offered to the NSW Parliament’.