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I would like to offer my support to those people who oppose the Wagga to Ladysmith rail trail, by offering the following thoughts.
I would like to address one of the articles that your paper has published and how some people who support the rail trail are misguided. Friday 04/11/2016 “Fat problem fix could lay on rail trail”. This article states that a rail trail could be the key to combating Wagga’s growing obesity epidemic. So if Wagga does have an obesity problem, then all those people who are overweight, and have already made the decision not to walk around the lake, not to walk along the river, not to take their bike (if they have one) are suddenly going to get off their electronic devices and walk along the rail trail? Sorry but I can’t see that ever happening.
I wonder if people like Lisa Glastonbury, The mayor and all the other supporters of the Wagga to Tumbarumba rail trail would like walkers, cyclist and dirt bike riders using their backyard as a trail pathway. My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren face that prospect if this proposed rail trail goes ahead. Surely allowing people to walk and ride through your property is an invasion of privacy. They are well aware that the rail line has existed on their property, and if the easement was used as a rail line as it its intention, they would not be feeling the stress and anxiety that they are at the moment.
I also strongly question whether the money spent on the rail trail will be money well spent. In a recent Advertiser, Lisa Glastonbury stated “This (rail trail) is something the community wants”. I wonder what she is basing this assumption on. I don’t see a lot of people walking the streets of Wagga and the vast numbers that walk around the lake or along the riverbank will probably continue to do so.
There are so many unanswered questions facing farmers who will be affected by the rail trail.
How will this affect the valuation of their properties? How will they move stock and machinery across the trail? How will emergency services access the track if there is an accident? What about their right to privacy and isolation? How will they spray chemical and maintain their paddocks that adjoin the rail trail?
I am also a little confused by council's attitude towards providing more pathways for cyclist and walkers around Wagga.
In Friday’s 04/11/16 Advertiser there was a heading ‘Cyclists gear up for tracks.’ Council is planning to build $10.5 million worth of cycling paths stemming from the CBD. The council is always crying poor and they don’t have money for this or that. So why spend the money building a rail trail and then another $10.5 million on tracks around town?
Please don’t compare the bike trails around Beechworth and Bright to the impact our rail trail would have on tourism in this area. The Bright model and model proposed for Wagga are totally different.
Whether the rail trail in Wagga will be a success, I have my doubts, but I know that the landowners from Wagga through to Tumbarumba have the right to object such development through their property.
It appears that the Advertiser is reporting only one side of this story and not investigating the negative arguments to the rail trail proposal. Surely this is not true journalism, reporting just information that is provided to them.
This article first appeared on www.dailyadvertiser.com.au
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