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Richmond Valley and Lismore City councils have released a business case for the much-debated Northern Rivers Rail Trail from Casino to Eltham, and asked for $33.3m in government funding to make the project a reality.
The business case, prepared by Bathurst-based consultancy BusinessSense, covers the 45km Casino-to-Eltham section of the 130kms Casino-to-Murwillumbah rail corridor.
Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow praised the community campaign for the rail trail, which has lobbied tirelessly for several years in a bid to make the trail a reality.
Cr Mustow said this group was instrumental in much of the ground work for the trail, such as historical and environmental reporting.
It had also helped to map much of the track, as well as produce designs and costings for the bridges and crossings.
He said the report highlighted that the land would remain a rail corridor, meaning it could be used for transport in the future if required.
Richmond Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said as part of Council’s community engagement process, discussions would be held with landholders adjacent to the rail corridor, as well as other stakeholders.
‘Adjacent landholders are traditionally – and understandably – apprehensive about trails close to their properties,’ Mr Macdonald said.
‘It is important these concerns are addressed before any trail conversion takes place.’
Mr Macdonald said the business case also included an allocation of $490,000 to upgrade the old Casino railway station.
Mr Macdonald said he was aware of a report going to Byron Shire Council’s meeting on Thursday, which looked at bringing some form of train back to the Byron Shire rail corridor.
He said this would not affect Richmond Valley Council’s plans as they were more about broadening recreation offerings.
This article first appeared on www.echo.net.au
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