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The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Bega MP and Transport Minister Andrew Constance are expected in Cooma to announce $1 million for a feasibility study into a rail link from Canberra to Bombala and then on to the Port of Eden.
The news follows the launch of a concept report in early July by the Cooma and Monaro Progress Association.
Written by engineer Edwin Michell the report promoted the idea of a rail link from Canberra which “would enable the Port of Eden to emerge as a first-rate intermodal transport facility”.
It is something that has been raised by the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO) which includes Bega Valley Shire Council as well as Eurobodalla, Snowy Monaro, Queanbyean-Palerang, Goulburn Mulwarree, Uppper Lachlan, Hilltops, Yass Valley and Wingercarabee councils with associate members, East Gippsland, Snowy Valleys, Wagga Wagga and ACT government.
Council’s general manager Leanne Barnes said they had looked at a range of freight options and freight strategies.
Ms Barnes said that it was about “big picture thinking” and having “a vision for what could happen into the future” and getting that on the agenda.
Mayor of Bega Valley Shire and deputy chair of the CRJO Kristy McBain said the group has a focus on regional collaboration to enable the whole area to flourish.
Councillor Sharon Tapscott has welcomed the news of the study calling it “a step in the right direction for sustainability”.
The CRJO represents a powerful voice in the region and has met with state ministers discuss how to use their combined muscle for economies of scale, and to press their respective cases for funding.
Mr Constance has previously spoken about the opportunities presented by the development of the Port of Eden, Canberra’s international airport and the development of Snowy 2.0.
He is understood to be keen on a rail link, providing the economic case stacks up and has talked about getting big infrastructure projects in place.
The rail link proposal looked at reopening the link from Canberra, where a line once ran, through to Bombala. The section from Bombala to Eden would require a new link.
The report says the most promising route between Bombala and Eden is through the Towamba Valley, downhill through the valleys of the White Rock River and Wog Wog Creek, eventually emerging into the Towamba River near Burragate following the river to its mouth near Boydtown and terminating at the Port of Eden.
However there are two alternative routes to consider, Mr Michell said, one through the Bega Valley, and one encompassing the small township of Wyndham.
It would proceed through Cathcart and once on the Bega Valley bottom, it would pass close to the townships of Candelo, Wolumla, and Pambula, using the surveyed but unbuilt Bega-Eden Railway.
The second would proceed due east from Bombala through Coolangubra State Forest, descending the spurs surrounding Rocky Hall, then through the townships of Wyndham and Lochiel to Pambula, using the surveyed Bega-Eden railway.
This article first appeared on www.begadistrictnews.com.au
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