RIDING HIGH: The Otago Central rail trail is one example of a global success story, attracting 750,000 visitors a year.
RIDING HIGH: The Otago Central rail trail is one example of a global success story, attracting 750,000 visitors a year. Trail Journeys

Rail trailers say trail would be a key infrastructure

MEMBERS of the local Rail Trail group believe the project to turn the disused Casino-to-Murwillumbah railway line into a rail trail could be one of the most significant pieces of infrastructure built in the region.

Earlier this month, the terms of reference for the NSW Government rail trail study were released by North Coast Minister Don Page.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail Association Inc (NRRTA) meets monthly and at last week's meeting, preparations were under way for a submission to the upcoming study

"It will be a complex project and not just a bike track," said deputy president Ian Oelrichs.

"The rail trail has the potential for multiple uses so it could be part of a wider solution for transport in Byron Bay," he said.

"As a multi-use trail, sections could have electric-wheeled vehicles to move people between towns or to and from festival sites within the Byron Shire.

"It's 14 kilometres from Mullumbimby to the industrial estate so it is a manageable ride for cyclists.

"In Bangalow it would serve as a cycle and walking link from the industrial area through the newer residential developments and into town and then on to the sporting fields.

"In Byron Bay it could be a great link between the high school and the new sporting complex.

"And a rail trail will attract more mature and active family-oriented tourists and disperse tourists into the hinterland."

The terms of reference already include consideration of a light-rail option for the planned North Byron Beach Resort at the old Becton site.

Mr Page said he hoped to have the report six months after the report tender was awarded and if the project were to proceed it was likely federal funds would be needed to complete the project.



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