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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Issue dividing the community

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This bitter division in the Northern Rivers community regarding trains on our tracks or the rail trail could’ve been avoided with proper community consultation years ago!

Specifically, by Tweed Shire Council, as I don’t know how much consultation was conducted in the other relevant shires.

On social media I am finding this argument being thrashed out daily… or trashed (!) by those becoming increasingly rude (Rail Trailers I’m looking at you.)

Reasoned debate and facts from train supporters. Insults and character assassination from the others.

When we attended so-called community workshops in Tweed Shire, we were addressed by Council staff member Iain Lonsdale who said that there is no question that the rail trail will go ahead.

When and where was this decided so definitely? So much for the community having input. A farmer sitting next to me was livid about the rail trail dividing his farm.

Decisions are made behind the scenes I think. By unelected officials.

As per the case in Byron Shire, regarding the Draft Unauthorised Dwelling Policy, (Byron Echo, 3 Nov 2021) when Council staff were blamed for taking it on themselves to act on said policy; ‘firing off a salvo of letters to residents… prior to any detailed investigation being done’ and without any of the councillors’ knowledge. According to The Echo ‘… they would not have agreed to the move if they had been told.’ The policy was later shelved, but not before the letters caused considerable stress, anxiety and anger among those on the receiving end.

Is this how councils operate? Sure looks like it. This is not democracy. This is not right.

Serena V Dolinska, Burringbar

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