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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Bike track is just a smokescreen

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Louise Doran, Ocean Shores

It’s a distressing mystery to so many locals (and real environmentalists) why The Echo keeps printing so much misinformation about the community’s long battle to stop the Liberal/National Party (LNP) unnecessarily wasting many millions of public money destroying the Casino to Murwillumbah train line ostensibly to build a bike track. 

It’s obvious to the community that the bike track idea is just a smokescreen to allow the removal of the protective legislation from the line, which will allow the LNP to sell off valuable Crown land to their developer mates to build hideous highrise, just as they’ve done all over Sydney. 

This is the same LNP who gave billionaire Jamie Packer valuable harbourside Crown land to build his monstrous big willie at Barangaroo. This is the LNP who wanted to bulldoze the historic Power House Museum then sell the Crown land to developers to build highrise units. They’ve sold off beautiful heritage sandstone and marble public buildings in Sydney to be gutted for hotels. They’ve destroyed heritage houses and communities to build tollways that are then sold off to profiteering private corporations. These are the same people who destroyed kilometres of bike track in Sydney to allow unimpeded access for more cars. 

As Elizabeth Farrelly writes in her book Killing Sydney, ‘the state-significant assessment pathway, which replaces the infamous Part 3A with a mechanism whereby a proposal need only big enough, outrageous enough, or on prime Crown land and it can, without further ado or justification, be lifted from local jurisdiction and taken straight to the minister’ (p 321).

Beware any local council that tries and obstruct the LNP in their quest to sell off Crown land or destroy publicly owned heritage buildings: you risk being sacked and replaced with an LNP-friendly administrator.

The LNP are notorious worldwide for wanting to keep opening coal mines and waste eye-watering amounts of taxpayers’ money building filthy new coal-fired power stations. They’re the people who go to Hawaii while the country burns.  

Why would anyone believe they’ve suddenly turned green and will spend millions destroying a valuable train line to build a bloody bike track for a few cyclists on very valuable land in one of the busiest tourist regions in the country, with no expectation of a financial return on investment? Conveniently removing the legislation that protected the line and destroying any chance of North Coast locals and six million tourists ever having sustainable public transport? You’d have to be a complete dingbat to believe anything these people said.

For many years until the 2011 election, the LNP told locals that the C–M line was ‘central to our future… we will need more trains, more commuter trains and tourist trains… the line will need to be connected to the Qld system at the Gold Coast’. Yes the C–M line is central to our future, now more than ever. Now the LNP lie to the community, claiming the bike track needs to be built to protect the rail line for future use, when the truth is they’ve removed the legislation that did protect it so they can destroy it.  

There are many cycleways in Byron Shire but few cyclists on them. There’s a beautiful cycleway along the coast from Ballina to Boulder Beach but rarely a cyclist to be seen.

It’s completely dishonest to keep saying train supporters do not support cycleways. Train supporters have always supported a cycleway on the 20-metre-wide corridor alongside the C–M line, which experienced rail engineers say could be built for a fraction of the cost taxpayers are paying to rip the line up to build it. Train supporters want our towns to be pedestrian and cyclist-friendly for locals and millions of tourists who have arrived by train. Train supporters want to stop cars and large coaches choking our towns and spewing toxic diesel pollution far and wide, destroying towns and the planet.  

In the 1990s when I was part of Byron Council’s Transport Committee, a detailed plan was produced with the intent of making Byron more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly. Who knows what happened to it – gathering dust or being chewed by rats most likely. Time it was dragged out and dusted off.

Last September another petition with ten thousand names gathered from North Coast people (that’s a total of over 30,000 so far) calling for trains on the C–M line was presented to the NSW parliament by Greens MLC Abigail Boyd. Ms Boyd said…

Any candidates for council elections planning to campaign on the LNP’s dodgy plan to spend eye-watering millions of public money destroying the valuable C–M line and replacing it with an expensive bike track while our towns are choked with gas-guzzling, planet-destroying vehicles may need to rethink. At the last state election the Nationals ran enthusiastic campaigns with that plan in the long-held National seats of Ballina and Lismore and they lost both seats spectacularly. That clearly shows their dodgy plan has little community support.

It would make a nice change to have intelligent local representatives who actually listen to what locals want, and what the planet needs, rather than dictating to them about what they’re going to get.


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22 COMMENTS

  1. A valuable train line? The corridor is valuable, but not the infrastructure on it. There is no credibility to Louis’ letter. Both major parties support rail trails and are working on getting another 16 in the State up and running. If they wanted to sell off the land, they can just do it without the “smoke screen” of spending millions of dollars on rail trails. Rail Trails are good for communities, create jobs and attract high spending tourists. The pilot Rail Trail opened last year in Tumbarumba and it has been a major success. Locals who were against it, now support it and it has had 4 times the number of people using it that was expected. As for the locals wanting a train – it depends who you are talking to. 99 percent of people I talk to want a rail trail, which is sustainable, affordable and connects communities by active transport. The only possibility of a train in our region is a private operation between Byron and Mullumbimby. The Greens don’t support a private enterprise on a public corridor, but they do support active transport. No-one is saying train supporters don’t support cycleways and rail trail supporters aren’t saying they don’t support trains – just not on that corridor. Very few people will use it as it doesn’t go to hospitals or universities or the major towns of Ballina and Tweed. The line has been closed both ends and the train isn’t coming back in our lifetimes. Don’t relegate our beautiful corridor to being an overgrown, weed infested, useless bit of land that no-one can access.

  2. Gee, I wouldn’t want to be a nursing home staff member with an occupant like this author, of endless diatribe.

    Does she not know that the C-M line was closed, NOT by LNP, but the Carr Labor govt.?!!
    But the rail line back then in 2004, yes, 17 years ago, was stuffed and looking at a total rebuild, bar tunnels and steel bridges.
    Everything but sections of the actual tracks and tunnels, are stuffed. The sleepers are rotting and rusting away.
    There is absolutely no room for anything other than a single track width, for the vast majority of the 132 kms length. The rest is in steep cuttings and slopes and drainage infrastructure.

    So these train lovers (and I love trains), that insist the corridor must not be used for anything other than a fully restored service which NO govt will waste our money on, are committing to weed and tree growth forever. So we the people, get to lose the corridor for anything at all.

    There is not ONE rail trail person that wants the corridor sold off. That is an outright lie. Very naughty girl..
    It MUST be kept in public ownership.
    We want people of all types to enjoy the corridor, which has been unloved for way too long already.

    Why stand in the way, for another 17+ years ??

    Use it or lose it.

    • Tim, the steel sleepers are fine, as are the rails. It’s only really timber elements that need attention, such as timber sleepers and bridges. Timber sleepers can be replaced with steel sleepers in a pattern (say every second or fourth) as is standard rail maintenance practice, which isn’t that expensive. Most timber bridges on this line could be easily and cheaply replaced by pre-cast concrete structures eg box culverts, again which is just standard railway maintenance and not that expensive. I think we can see that railways are built to last. This one has held up darn well in all seventeen years of zero maintenance. Any investment in upgrades to this line will continue to be of service and value for many generations to come.

      An interesting contrast to that however is the fact the rail trail will require rebuild/substantial reparation after each big weather event. Every affected kilometre of the surface will need to be graded and crowned by heavy machinery to maintain the ‘world class’ compacted gravel surface. Smaller bridge bypass structures at creek/waterway height may well need replacement after each flood/rain event, too. All these repairs and rebuilds require heavy machinery and lots of manual labour, certainly not a cheap proposition. With those costs piling up almost each year outside drought, you can bet that the total cost of this rail trail, or even just costs after the first ten years, will be many times more than the staggering initial build cost of $100M minimum. Hundreds of thousands of people would have to be riding up and down the trail each year for it to come close to making just an indirect return, but to be honest I can’t see that ever happening, especially once the initial hype dies off. The expected build cost of the trail only seems increase each year, and it’s clear the total costs will be far higher than any RT advocates are letting on. Quite simply, this burgeoning rail trail money pit just doesn’t stack up.

      • Wayne
        I was advised recently by a working NSW rail engineer that the rails on the former Casino Murwillumbah line are beyond their useful life. It is now closed but if it had been reopened they would need to be replaced. That’s academic as the line is not going to be reopened and there is no funded proposal for rail services on the legacy Bentley to Crabbes Creek rail line. Rail services or heritage rail, it’s not going to happen. Aside from a short stretch of tourist rail in Byron Bay It is a disused rail corridor. The only question is whether it is opened to the public for recreation and economic benifits to the community or just sits there unused for another seventeen years. Some rail buffs might prefer that, but they have never asked the public if they want to keep the rails on a dusused corridor. Put whatever arguments like out there against the rail trail. If parts of the corridor are still sitting there an unused eyesore in a decades time this region will have only the so called rail supporters to blame .

  3. Huh? But the single-track train line was built in 1984, designed to carry goods and passengers between Sydney and the North Coast, not even as a public transport solution then. And green buses and cars (faster and much more flexible) are on the near horizon. If you check the Rail Trail website, you’ll find evidence that the Government will never be allowed to sell off the land to developers. Not to mention, who’s going to pay for it? 🤷🏻‍♀️

  4. Louise, a few railway stations dotted along a meandering track, away from today’s population concentrations, is not the solution to our region’s transport dilemma.
    When it was built at the turn of the 20th century, that is 1900, it was termed the track to no where, the main line didn’t exist, and its primary function was freight; fly ash, timber and produce. Today, main towns on the track, wouldn’t produce enough commuters, students, shoppers and sightseers to justify such a huge expenditure, not only in restoring, but also ongoing costs and maintenance..
    I have offered many times to TOOT and NRRAG supporters to accompany them on a walk to see the condition of the track for themselves, NO takers! The offer stands.
    After 17 years the only train is run on 3km of track at a huge loss and the company has stated they will not be expanding so where is the money going to come from, Lydia’s hare brain idea of $20 memberships to raise millions? I don’t think so.
    It was a noble and good community idea to object and challenge politicians back in 2004 but the answer has consistently been NO, so TOOT, NRRAG and the Greens should have then focussed on alternative choices and maybe in the intervening 17 years public transport may have improved.
    Stop burying your heads in the sand and get behind a great community asset. Your arguments are WRONG, petty and looking like sour grapes

    • That’s a bit of a stretch Richard. You clearly aren’t talking about the Murwillumbah Line! Your comment is full of inaccuracy and is nothing more than misleading.
      The Murwillumbah line connects Lismore, Byron Bay, Bangalow, Mullumbimby, Ocean Shores, Mooball, Tweed Villages, and Murwillumbah. Many of those are major areas in this region, Byron Shire is served extremely well by rail and sees over 2.2 million tourists per annum, Mooball is set to host a 5,000 lot subdivision, and Murwillumbah is a major Tweed town just 22km from Gold Coast Airport, which will have QLD rail and light rail connection in the near future. This thing of “nobody will use it” is nothing more than BS. Tourists can use trains, and well-timetabled services useful to locals and the huge tourist market would no doubt be utilised by both demographics well, hence quite successful. Properly timetabled trains could be an excellent option for tourists and day-trippers looking to see more of the region and leave the car behind, something fantastic for connectivity and a huge boost to our towns. Rail trail advocates conveniently ignore the huge tourist demographic when discussing potential rail use, and that’s just plain silly.
      Plain and simple, the only place of any significance that the present line does not go is Ballina. That’s right, just Ballina. You don’t really have much of an argument.

      As for a “meandering track”, that’s arguably misleading too. Pull out a timetable from near when the line closed. You will see that town-town travel times then are actually very similar to that of today’s road equivalent. Some rail journeys are much, much faster! Byron Bay to Mullumbimby for example could be done in 10 minutes or less. By road that takes atleast 25 minutes, though much more with traffic. Remind me again how “meandering” the track apparently is? Also keep in mind that those rail travel times were done over ageing timber bridges, which imposed severe speed restrictions. With the upgrade of these alone, train travel times would noticeably increase. The upgrade of timber sleepers and general improvements to the line could easily shave 10 minutes off some journeys, making trains even faster and very, very competitive with road equivalents.

      The simple fact is this “its too old” doom and gloom holds no water. Rail trail advocates love it but the truth is as soon as you look into it, the whole argument just falls apart. Sorry Richard, it’s just misleading. The truth is that the line is already a very good option for providing reliable connections between the vast majority of the region’s major tourist and population centres (everything except Ballina), and with some investment could provide very fast and competitive options serving the bulk of this region for decades to come!
      Railways are built to last. You can bet that any investment in rail infrastructure now, however big or small, would continue to be of service and value to this region for decades to come. Quite simply, it’s this ‘big picture’ consideration that many people seem to struggle to comprehend!

      • Major areas in this region? Lismore is 49 in the list of largest cities in Australia and at the bottom of the table for growth. Eighty five percent of Australians live in cities bigger than Lismore. The other places are just small towns, most of them smaller than city suburbs. You need to get some perspective on what “major” means.

        The railway doesn’t go to Tweed Heads or the coastal villages in Tweed Shire. It doesn’t go near Goonellebah and barely even goes into Lismore. People will not travel from the plateau down into Lismore to wait for a slow train when they could be half way to the M1 in the same time.

        Many of the slow sections are not down to the bridges but the tight radius curves. Modern railways have curves with one kilometre radii while the old line has many curves at 400 metres or less. But most importantly people prefer the safety, comfort and convenience of their own car that can take them right to where they want to be when they want to and with all their stuff.

        Privately operated railways charge fares that are well beyond what any commuter would pay even if the train went right to their destination, especially when there is more than one traveller. The car is king and that will not change just because you want a train.

  5. “Rail Trail” is a misnomer …. please drop the “rail” part because there wont be any rails as such, and it has been many years since it was a working railway corridor. Please call it what it will be, and the purpose of construction : a Cycle Trail.

    • “Rail Trail” is the term used all over the world for trails built on railway corridors. People know that it means a trail with very gentle gradients that allow people of any level of fitness to ride or walk for very long distances. It isn’t a cycle track. About thirty percent of visitors at other trails complete their journey on foot.

      A goat track scratched in the grunge down the side of the corridor where users have to negotiate steep terrain off the formation would be a failure because it would not meet the expectations of the vast majority of potential users.

  6. Louise there is a Transport Strategy Document from Tweed Shire Council that was released in 2011 and it specifically states and supports that the future train system will follow the M1 corridor from Chinderah to Yelgun with stations located at all the highway interchanges.
    I have not seen you , TOOTs or NRRAG showing support for both this strategy document or the heavy rail system following the M1. All I have seen are complaints that the government is spending billions on highways but not one word saying ‘hey let’s build the train system in the highway corridor at the same time’.
    So we are now back at Northern Rivers Rail Ltd wanting to run old Melbourne Trams on the meandering line that are not disability compliant and as such won’t receive fare subsidies from the state government.
    Gympie Shire residents subsidise every passenger on their tourist train to the tune of $40 and that is on top of the $55 return fare on the 22km journey.The fare has now risen to $65 return I presume to lower the huge subsidy cost to Gympie ratepayers.

  7. People would like to know why bike track supporters continually demand so much public money be spent on a bike track, which will return little. Why do they direct so much vitriol and ridicule at people who just want a sustainable, affordable train service on a valuable train line that served the community well for over 100 years and could do so again. The LNP did NOT support rail trails. So why do bikers choose to ignore what the pollies corresctly said for many years: “the line is central to our future, we will need more trains, more commuter trains and tourist trains?”

    Yes the land along the rail corridor is VERY valuable- that’s the point- and why the state government went to so much trouble unnecessarily removing the legislation that protected it, so they can sell it off and gain revenue, just as they’ve done all over Sydney.

    If you bothered to read Elizabeth Farrelly’s book “Killing Sydney”, where she documents what the state government does with valuable public buildings and crown land you’d know why these people cannot be trusted with a chook raffle let alone our valuable train line. No matter how much vitriol is thrown about, hundreds of people turning out to local meetings know the value of the line as public transport and are not going to allow millions of public money to be squandered on it’s destruction.

    Yes the line was built in 1894, just as most of the main train lines were, and with upgrades they’re still serving communities. With the right service, as the pollies said, this train line is central to our future and most locals understand that.

    Around 59% of the City of Sydney population, some of the wealthiest in the country, don’t own a car. They have cheap public transport which we all contribute to. Time our money was spent providing public transport for this fast growing region and millions of tourists.

    • Many Sydney people don’t own a car because thy cannot afford the real estate to park a car. They rely on subsidised public transport they pay for with their taxes. We are not contributing to their trains. The people of the Far North Coast are already subsidised by their taxes. Our sparse population cannot justify the cost of metropolitan conveniences like trains.

      We are not in a fast growing region. Not even close. The edges of the Sydney basin are the fastest growing areas in the state, by far. This is where the government is spending money on developing railway services so people can get to their jobs quickly and efficiently. Expecting them to pay hundreds of millions for to provide luxury public transport for tiny proportion of of our regional population is ridiculous.

      The LNP did support rail trails. The legislation was introduced in the lower house by Pail O’Toole the Minister for Roads and Transport (National Party) and in the Upper House by Ben Franklin also of the Nationals. You seem to think you can say anything you like, regardless of the facts and nobody will notice, as you also do by falsely claiming the corridor will be sold when we know the legislation contained protection. Could you please stop ignoring the facts and launching into your mindless repetitive diatribe.

  8. Louise, yes the land is valuable and yes original rail infrastructure can still be the basis of a very effective and pleasant public transport system – if the route still services the needs of the population in a particular area. To compare what’s viable in Sydney with a line in this area, that no longer goes where the population is and to where they want to go, is not helpful.

    A rail trail is more than a bike track and the benefits it can bring to an area are enormous. You should visit somewhere like Bright to see the healthy, outdoor, family it all aged-based tourism to an area. A trail in this region would be unbelievably popular.

    I don’t think these regular missives denigrating cyclists do much for the cause. They just attract a whole lot of informed well supported commentary that makes far more sense.

    And no, the pro rail trail group don’t want to denigrate or ridicule “ people who just want a sustainable, affordable train service” probably just people who think the rehabilitation of old Casino to Murwillumbah will provide it.

  9. I wanted to encourage all those who diligently answer – with data and reasoning – these repetitively emotive letters, each time they appear. It must get tedious but it’s important that readers hear all sides

    While I’m at it, can I fix my butchered sentence above which should read: “You should visit somewhere like Bright to see the healthy, outdoor, family and all aged-based tourism it brings to an area. 😊

  10. We don’t have to go to Victoria to see bike tracks-there are many in Byron Shire, and one along the coast from Ballina to Boulder Beach, with few cyclists on them. Spending untold millions of public money destroying a valuable train line to build another bike track, depriving locals and millions of tourists of sustainable, affordable, accessible public transport cannot be justified.

    There’s nothing ‘diligent’ or polite, about some of the uniformed vitriol being written by some-as others have pointed out, much of it is just dishonest.

    • The government is not spending “untold millions”. The budget for Tweed section is $16 million. Meanwhile the millions that rail advocates don’t want to talk about are the $550 ,000,000 to $900,000,000 that would be needed to be spent on the old track to bring back trains . These figures are from the study done by an independent infrastructure consultant in 2013 who also found that trains on the corridor could not make a significant contribution to the transport needs of the region.

      They also don’t want to talk about the tens of millions of dollars it would cost to run the services they want on the line for the tiny number of people who would use them, mainly concession holders who expect to contribute $2.50.

      Rail advocates frequently claim that trail supporters are dishonest but never indicate what we are supposedly lying about. Meanwhile they never respond to specific examples of rail advocates providing misleading information such as the patently false claims that the trail could be built on the “maintenance track that already runs beside the line” (it doesn’t exist) or the ludicrous notion that raised walkways made of recycled plastic are flame retardant.

      • People need to do some decent research-the Byron section of line was repaired for $660,000 per kilometer-NOT $7m per kilometer the dodgy ARUP ‘study’ claimed it would cost, which bikers conveniently keep quoting, then wonder why they have no credibility. The proposed bike track replacing the train line would cost a ridiculous $569,000 per kilometer for no return on investment, at least nothing a train service wouldn’t return in spades. While bike tracks in our towns have few cyclists on them.

        To date over 30,000 people have signed paper petitions for TRAiNS, 10,000 were presented to NSW parliament last September. Plus hundreds are turning out to public meetings all over the North Coast AGAIN to voice their demand for TRAINS in one of the fastest growing regions in the country with over six million tourists, and horrendous traffic gridlock. The community has well and truly spoken.

        • It is Louise who needs to do the research. She has been told before that the engineer who commissioned the work on the Byron line stated that the cost could not be used as an indication of the cost to repair the line on the rest of the corridor. But she choses to ignore that fact because it doesn’t suit her prejudices.

          Firstly the Byron section is straight. Most of the wear on tracks is on curves which also require a much greater standard of construction to cope with the enormous forces placed on them by trains. Many sections of the line, particularly in Tweed Shire and on Hayters Hill are in far worse condition than that used by the Byron Train. They were already slated for “major repair or replacement” when trains stopped running seventeen years ago. Being buried in thick vegetation for more than a decade, including substantial trees growing up between the tracks, has not improved their condition.

          Unlike the rest of the line with dozens of collapsing or already demolished wooden trestle bridges, the Byron line had just one steel bridge that required relatively minor repairs.

          The Byron line doesn’t have the dozens of level crossings requiring boom gates to meet modern safety standards nor the miles of fencing to keep the public away from the trains.

          The Byron line is built to a standard that allows it to be licensed for speeds far lower than would be practical for public transport use.

          The Arup report remains the only comprehensive study into the viability of operating services on the line. It is referred to as “dodgy” by rail advocates simply because they don’t like its findings. They do not have any evidence to dispute those findings yet wonder why they have no credibility.

          Nobody is expecting a direct return on investment from the “rail trail” (it isn’t a “bike track” as opponents like to call it in denial of the fact that thirty percent of trail users complete their journey on foot). The indirect returns to the economies of towns along trails has been thoroughly established by experiences at other rail trails with far less attractions than we will have on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

          It has also been established that running train services on the corridor would make no direct return on investment because they would cost far more to run than could be hoped to be collected in fares from the tiny number of passengers, particularly given that, as reported in the ARUP study, the vast majority of passengers would be concession holders paying almost nothing towards the cost of their journey.

          Anyone who doubts this finding should take a look at the demographics of attendees at the recent meetings of the train lobbyists which are almost entirely made up of old age pensioners.

          The petitions have been collected over almost two decades. My own signature would be included because, like many people back then and now, I signed before I knew anything about the facts. Many of the signatures would be repeated and many of those who signed would have since passed away.

          People signing petitions means very little, especially when those promoting them are indulging in extensive campaigns of misinformation. Moreover it is not difficult get agreement from someone to sign a petition for hundreds of millions of dollars of public money to be spent on something they would like the option of having when there is no down side for them.

          They don’t care if represents poor value for money because they are not the people paying. Instead these aging boomers are more than happy to put yet more financial burdens on the young who have no interest in providing luxury transport for a tiny minority with an incredible sense of entitlement.

        • And as has been pointed many times before, the Northern Rivers is NOT “one of the fastest growing regions in the country”. It isn’t even close. The fastest growing region in NSW is on the edge of the Sydney basin near the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Districts where the government is investing in upgrading railways to connect the eighty percent of NSW residents who live in the Newcastle-Sydney-Woolongong region.All this information is readily discoverable by anyone.

          The claims of horrendous gridlocked traffic are also nonsense. The traffic problems in Byron are isolated and wholly due to poor planning by the local council who are entirely reactive rather than dealing with problems before they happen. Instead they waste time and money on delusional dreams of a toy railway that any intelligent analysis would show would not make the slightest difference to the traffic.

          Unfortunately ranting rail advocates like Louise just keep repeating their nonsense claims no matter how many time the facts are pointed out to them.

  11. Louise, a few things about the very new walk/bike path from Boulders to Ballina. It’s a commuter track to link Lennox Head to Ballina – a fantastic idea in itself. Funny but I travel along that road a couple of times a week at least and it’s always buzzing with people. Do you have any usage studies to quote here?

    Seeing all the enthusiastic users walking, cycling, singly and in large groups, I fully intend to ride it soon – “It’s an awesome ride” was the verdict from one I’ve spoken to – but it takes some organisation to pack bikes to travel to it. There’s no way I’d ride on that Coast Road to get there with bike. And it’s not comparable to a rail trail.

    It’s not a rail trail where people will plan a whole holiday around taking several days to explore the countryside, staying and eating at stops along the way. Can you imagine the scene of riders taking a coffee or lunch break at the old station buildings?

    Nor are the other cycle tracks in Byron Shire likely to give anything like the same experience as a rail trail – even for just local commuting. I ride regularly from Suffolk park to Byron Bay and, thanks to the new bike markings, it’s a much less daunting experience. That is until you get to the roundabout at Mitre Ten and want to follow Johnson Street into town. You have to cross the traffic heading for the bypass! Imagine being able to access a rail trail just a few metres down old Bangalow Road and head safely into the middle of town. Imagine the other inter village cycling this would foster – safely!

    There is even room in this section for a road that could have avoided the destruction of wetlands to give us a better bypass. But no we must wait interminably for the return of a service that doesn’t stack up.

    And before I’m written off as an elitist cyclist let me tell you I’m well and truly a senior, unfit and don’t own any Lycra!

  12. What a lot of wordy misleading nonsense. The rail trail is not a plot by the LNP. Candidates for the Nationals and Labor publicly declared their support for the rail trail. Outside of Byron and voters overwhelmingly supported them and the prominent rail supporter Bill Fenelon who campaigned on bringing back trains got just 16% of the votes in Tweed. While many of us like trains, for most of us the priority is fixing the roads not the rails,and we are realistic enough to know the trains are not coming back. We would rather our corridor land be opened to the public than sit there unused. Only a very small percentage of the public – die hard rail buffs like Fenelon – would rather the rails sit there indefinitly on an overgrown corridor.
    Louise ‘ comments on the Ballina Boulder cycle path are a good measure of her prejudice against active recreation and of the facts around her arguments. I cycle and walk thst path several times a week. It is always in use by walkers, joggers and cyclists. By contrast I have walked several lengths of the overgrown rail corridor. No one else was using it and that will be the way it will stay indefinitly if Fenelon and his train buff friends succeed in their last ditch efforts to block the rail trail.

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Ballina Dragons’ great results at Urunga

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is a group of paddling people from all walks of life who enjoy being out on the water having fun and keeping fit.