Could a rail link work between these North Coast towns?
A RAIL link between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby could be on the horizon.
Byron Shire councillors votes to begin planning on the project as part of a “multi use activation of the rail corridor” at the March ordinary meeting.
The project will be incorporated as a key element of the draft Integrated Transport Strategy.
Cr Basil Cameron raised the project in a notice of motion.
Cr Cameron highlighted the busy nature of the region’s main arterial roads, including the Pacific Highway and Ewingsdale Rd.
“Tinkering with our road networks will probably do very little,” he said.
“It’s the only option that will allow us to move demand off the road network.”
Cr Cameron said using the rail corridor was in line with the masterplans for both towns, both of which involved plans to reduce the number of cars on the region’s roads.
“What I’m asking you to do today is say this is a project worth doing,” he said.
“Let’s get it on the books let’s get it acknowledged in the operational plan.”
A Trains on Our Tracks representative who addressed the meeting said “forward-thinking leadership” was needed “to reduce our use of fossil fuels” and welcomed the motion.
Cr Paul Spooner said the proposal would have “huge financial implications”/
“We don’t control the (rail) corridor,” he said.
“We’re living currently in very uncertain times.
“I have no confidence in these sort of projects, at this point.
“Even if we got this project up we don’t have $1m to spend on maintenance (every year).
“It would be a huge financial risk to this council.”
Mayor Simon Richardson supported the motion, noting the “daily queue” of traffic on the Pacific Highway at Byron Bay.
“What this does is take possibilities and focus it into a project,” he said.
“Overwhelmingly the community want a reactivation of transport in that corridor.”
An economic and social business plan will be prepared.
Cr Spooner and Cr Alan Hunter voted against the motion; Crs Michael Lyon and Jan Hackett were absent.