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If you are 18 or over please enrol to vote by 6pm, Monday 26th July for the local council elections on Saturday 4th September!
Two not-for-profit railway companies have been registered to bring back rail services. If you vote for candidates supporting the rail with a bike trail beside it, we’ll have our best possible chance to bring this about.
Tweed Shire Council recently voted for contractors Hazell Bros to build a bike path on the railway formation between Murwillumbah and Crabbes Creek. At the twelfth hour, just before the vote, something strange happened: Cameron Arnold, Vice President of NSW Rail Trails and CEO of Destination North Coast, stated that Deputy Premier John Barilaro had called and said that the rail trail had to be built on the rail formation and the tracks had to be pulled up, otherwise the council would lose their funding! This was news to the councillors and staff, and also the contractor who had done tenders for both on and off the rail formation, according to official guidelines.
The costing for off formation was actually around the same as on the rail formation! This was very different to statements by staff, of it being much more expensive off formation, that being a major reason why it had to go on the rail formation.
Of course many councillors who may have considered voting for off the formation and leaving the tracks for future rail services, were warned off and voted out of fear of losing their funding!
Curious and curiouser…two representatives of those with disabilities in Tweed Shire, Suzy Hudson and Joanne Hayes, spoke to council recently. Iain Lonsdale, rail trail project manager, said that councillors wanted the whole rail trail to be accessible to those with disabilities, so it must be on formation. When asked what they really wanted, the spokeswomen stated they would rather have the rail service, with access to sections of the bike /walking track. Had they ever been asked? No, they answered!
A campaign is being launched to alert all voters to which candidates would vote for rail and bike trail beside it, if given the chance.
Please vote for these community minded people. There has been no ‘extensive community consultation’ which is supposed to be the prerequisite for allowing our tracks to be threatened with destruction.
You can help bring rail services back by voting in these elections for candidates who support this outcome.
Northern Rivers Railway Action Group
This article first appeared on northernriversrail.com.au
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