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CONSTRUCTION of the controversial Tumbarumba to Rosewood rail trail is in the foreseeable future after the state government introduced legislation this week to enable the lifting of rail lines on the planned route.
The government’s move is a vital next step after it approved $4.8 million two years ago to build the rail trail as a pilot project for the state.
The NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, introduced into the Legislative Assembly a bill to close 22 kilometres of railway line that has not operated since 1974.
Speaking in parliament, Mr Constance said the line was “ideal for renewal as a vibrant, new tourism attraction building on the significant natural beauty of the region”.
Owen Fitzgerald, the only community member of the Tumbarumba to Rosewood rail trail pilot steering committee, welcomed the bill and said he hoped it would obtain final parliament approval within 10 days.
He said planning work was already underway.
“After 14 years of battling I feel at last we have been vindicated in our campaign to get rail trails for NSW,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
But a strong opponent of the project, Borambola farmer Alan Brown, said it still did not have the support of adjacent landholders, and not all were farmers.
He said residential homeowners in Tumbarumba with the railway line behind them did not want people “riding in their backyards”..
“It’s going to be very expensive and it’s not going to be value for money, it’s a poor use of public funds,” Mr Brown said.
This article first appeared on www.dailyadvertiser.com.au
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