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Byron Shire
June 9, 2023

Tweed rail trail

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In response to last week’s article titled ‘Tweed rail corridor rail trail not looking to the future’ (p.10) I am aghast at the lies and mistruths pedalled by Lydia Kindred who was quoted in this article.

For her to state that the community had not been consulted ‘before the rail trail was pushed through by TSC’ is ludicrous given that ‘The Byron Line’ was in existence for a decade. It was a vehicle designed by [Byron’s] then-mayor Richardson to galvanise and pursue all valid arguments and liaising with his community to help philanthropists to come forward, to reinstate our defunct rail system and include all sorts of other multi-modal possibilities as well.

‘The Byron Line’ achieved absolutely nothing over this decade, except hope for the hopelessly unfundable fantasies, as no philanthropist or government showed any interest, and there still appears to be no interest. Of course, Lydia Kindred’s ‘number of railway companies’ are yet to appear, but most of us ceased holding our breath years ago.

Instead of simply applauding the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT) and Tweed Shire Council for their enormous successes in the grand opening of the Tweed section of the rail trail, and the ongoing public excitement of it since, The Echo chose to print yet another of these same set of absurd claims, including Kindred’s claim that the rail trail was ‘bulldozed’ through by Tweed Shire Council!

Nothing could be further from the truth. The NRRT fought long and hard, voluntarily, for many years to achieve this remarkable facility for community health, enjoyment and pride, with some business and employment opportunities as well as an obvious bonus for the region.

The hard truth is, that if not for the fortitude and benevolence of the NRRT and its eventual rail trail, our rail corridor could, by now, have been irreversibly sold off.

Now that would have been a travesty in bulldozing.

A growing number of readers can see through printed tripe, but I remain beyond puzzled that the tripe on this topic appears to have obtained eternal licence! Let’s hope not.

Tim Shanasy, Byron Bay

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  1. The Tweed Valley Rail Trail project has been managed by three elected manifestations of the Tweed Shire Council over a decade. Support for the project always was, and continues to be, unwavering by the clear majority of the elected councillors.

    Anyone against the project has had every opportunity to make their opinion clear. The fact is a much larger section of the community has continued to support the project.

    A series of electoral defeats by pro rail candidates should leave everyone with no doubts about that fact. Yet another candidate promising to return trains to the Casino-Murwillumbah corridor stood for the Lismore electorate (which covers most of Murwillumbah) in last weekend’s State Election. With 57 percent of the vote counted, Allen Crosthwaite is currently sitting on a pathetic one percent of the primary vote. Strongly pro-rail candidate Janelle Saffin’s primary vote is currently around 45 percent, almost three times the vote for the Green candidate who also supported the resurrection of the railway though less conspicuously than Crosthwaite.

    Meanwhile 8,000 people used the trail in the first ten days from its opening and it continues to prove very popular. We the people have repeated made our choice clear.

    Everyone, including and especially the editors at The Echo, need to start acknowledging and reporting the facts instead of participating in the promulgation of the misinformation presented by serial deniers.

  2. Good points Tim – why the detractors “ alternative facts” keep getting oxygen is beyond me. The trail is here and expanding, trains are not part of the picture and we all move on – rail supporters are as rusted on and inflexible as the ancient infrastructure they fetishise.

  3. I live in Sydney and heard about the proposal for the Northern Rivers rail trail prior to 2013 when floated by Don Page when still an MP. I learned more detail in 2014 and have followed it since in the press, on social media and in occasional TV spots too. I know the state govt also conducted community consultation sessions. To say no one was consulted is balderdash. I knew about it from 800 klms away. To not know it was brewing in your own backyard means you either didn’t care or you weren’t trying very hard to find out about it. Consultation means many things to many people. Community consultation does not mean everyone in a community is personally consulted. Rather, the community is informed & people can respond. The community has responded energetically with their feet and the large numbers of people enjoying the trail on foot, in a triobike or wheelchair, on a horse or astride a bicycle since it opened is a clear endorsement that the trail is welcomed by many, ignored by others and a thorny matter for a few. Should a revived train service ever be funded the corridor can be resumed and replaced by the latest in signals, sleeper & track technology & good rolling stock that is fit for purpose.


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