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The leader of the “Rail Trail” campaigning group has defended the removal of signs opposing the trail.
The New England Rail Trail committee chairman, David Mills, said: “If everyone wanted to voice their opinion with a bit of corrugated iron and with a splash of paint, we’d have a very ugly region”.
He has been criticised because his business has a sign alongside the New England Highway but he said the difference was that he went through the planning process and got permission for it.
Is this a danger sign?
There were, Mr Mills said, about 18 signs opposing the final closure of the disused line, some of them hanging from trees..
The controversy arose because the Traffic Advisory Committee of Armidale council decided that the signs should go. Recent minutes of its meeting said: “Police do deem the signs to be dangerous acting as a distraction due to their location”.
Some of those who want the disused line reopened for trains rather than converted into a tourist trail for walkers and cyclists said they thought the removal of their signs was for political reasons.
There has been an intense, long-running debate about whether the line from Armidale to the Queensland border should be reopened for trains for at least part of its length.
Save the Great Northern Railway Group chairman, Rob Lenehan, suspects skulduggery on the whole rail line issue: “I believe that at the top end [of council] there's a biased feeling,” he said. “There have been very close secret meetings going on between the rail trail protagonists and the upper end of council in the last few weeks.”
But there are countless signs on the New England Highway, many of them more prominent than the anti-rail-trail ones.
This article first appeared on www.gleninnesexaminer.com.au
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