Support builds for light rail service
BYRON Shire Council has given its unanimous support behind a proposal for a light rail service to run between the town and the North Beach Byron Resort at Belongil.
The motion to support the light rail plan was put to the council at its ordinary meeting on Thursday by deputy mayor, Diane Woods and was passed with no opposition from fellow councillors.
The proposal, by the developers of the North Byron Beach Resort, is for a community and tourist rail shuttle service that would use a leased vintage 660 series railmotor that can seat 100 people to transport people back and forth between the resort and the CBD, utilising 3km of railway track.
The project would cost close to $1million in capital works and offer 10 shuttle services a day at a $3 one way fare.
The proposal is before the State Government and if approved, the first rail service could occur by December 2014.
In a report to the council, the developers said that overall the track appears to be in good condition, while the repair of the Belongil Creek Bridge is anticipated to cost between $250,000 - $350,000.
"I think this will be an absolutely fantastic solution to transport between town and the resort, the Byron Bay Writer's Festival and for residents at Sunrise Beach," Cr Woods said.
"Hopefully this may also open up a fuller service operating between the CBD and the Bluesfest site at Tyagarah," she said.
The plan has been welcomed by local rail supporters, the TOOT, Trains on our Tracks group.
"It confirms the viability of light rail in the Northern Rivers," president of TOOT Karin Kolbe said.
"Their plan for shared use of the Belongil bridge by both rail and cyclists/walkers demonstrates that the corridor can be shared.
"Once the initial service is established, it can then be extended further along the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line".
Cr Woods said the council owns the land adjacent to North Beach Byron's proposed tavern and said the land, "may be suitable for parking which would benefit any future park and ride proposals."