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.