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After two councillors failed to overturn a decision supporting the establishment of a rail trail in the Northern Tablelands, mayor Simon Murray has shed light on what it could be used for.
In February, Armidale Regional Council voted to contribute $25,000 over the next six months towards a business plan for a rail trail between Armidale and Glen Innes.
Debra O'Brien and Margaret O'Connor proposed rescinding that decision, but in the end they were the only councillors to share that view.
Two councillors - Dorothy Robinson and Brad Widders - left the online meeting to abstein from voting, and the rest of the councillors supported the original decision.
While Cr Widders made it clear that he did not support building a rail trail, he said he could not support overturning a decision which had already been made by the councillors.
Cr O'Brien had argued that there was significant community opposition to the rail trail, and said she did not believe the council had received enough information to go ahead with the rail trail plan.
She said closing the rail corridor would mean no other project would be possible, which includes the possibility of a heritage train between Armidale and Guyra, a project she had mentioned previously.
Meanwhile Cr O'Connor said there was enormous hostility to closing the corridor among more than 30 public submissions.
But it was to no avail, with most councillors sticking to the February decision.
"It's purely ratifying what council agreed to before," mayor Simon Murray said this week.
Cr Murray said the region would benefit from the proposal, and suggested the summer months could see the facility host cycling races, due to our cooler climate.
"The south east Queensland (rail trail) from Esk up to Yarraman has been used for a lot of competitions, and we could set a rail trail here up to run competitions in the summer, when in most other places it's hot," he said.
"It opens up a lot of opportunities for the economy, bringing in a lot of visitors into the region. It's not rocket science."
A business case has argued a rail trail could bring in $6 million into the region annually.
This article first appeared on www.armidaleexpress.com.au
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