Chris Sheridan, Ewingsdale
Before you believe the arguments for or against the rail line, it is very important that you look at the way the advantages/disadvantages were represented in David Lisle’s recent opinion piece ‘A short history of our rail corridor debate’ (13 January). Good spin doctors can give you whatever results you’d like by manipulating the way information is presented. Sir Humphrey Appleby demonstrates this point most aptly to Bernard in Yes Prime Minister (BBC TV).
Public transport in regional locations is sparse, apart from routes supported by school runs and supported government services – getting around is virtually impossible without access to private transport.
Byron Bay and its surrounding villages have now caused a lot of the service industry workers to locate out of these locations as rental and purchase prices soar.
Finding a solution to easing congestion into Byron Bay’s road network would seem to be a priority, along with a vehicle that could visit local villages on a short rail network, thus easing traffic congestion.
It would be difficult to justify the entire rail line reopening, even on an economic basis, but opening sections would be plausible, i.e. Byron to Mullumbimby (15.6km) and Bangalow (12.9km).
Not everyone rides a bike, or wants to. A transport corridor is for the whole community, not one section of it. With a rail trail – who pays, who is accountable for biosecurity, maintenance and liability issues?
With a train it’s user pays, and government contributions for regional public transport solutions.