July 2019 Newsletter

CASINO / LISMORE UPDATE

THE NORTHERN Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT) business case has been presented to Richmond Valley Council at their last meeting.

The business case, prepared by Bathurst-based consultancy BusinessSense, covers the 45km Casino-to-Eltham section of the 130kms Casino-to-Murwillumbah railcorridor. Richmond Valley and Lismore City councils each contributed $15,000 for the report and NRRT contributed over $70,000.

Richmond Valley Council, as project sponsor, is requesting $33.3 million in funding for the project. This equates to:

  • Casino to Lismore – 29.7kms $15,442,980
  • Lismore to Eltham – 15.5kms $17,825,425

Lismore City and Richmond Valley councils have committed more $100,000 towards the project through the provision of in-kind technical expertise and project coordination support. This includes project management and supervisory roles, planning and permit preparation, project direction and community engagement.

Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow praised the people behind NRRT, saying they had lobbied tirelessly for many years to make the trail a reality. 

Cr Mustow said NRRT was instrumental in much of the ground work for the trail, such as historical and environmental reporting.

He said with help from professional volunteers, NRRT had been able to map much of the track, as well as produce designs and costings for the bridges and crossings.

“Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan’s pre-election commitment of $7.5 million towards the Casino-to-Bentley section of the trail was a great win for the Richmond Valley,” Cr Mustow said. 

“This funding is additional to the previous Federal and NSW governments’ commitments totalling $13 million for the Murwillumbah-to-Crabbe’s Creek section of the trail in the Tweed Shire.”

Cr Mustow said the proposed rail trail provided a safe, environmentally-friendly option for both visitors and local people who participated in a range of activities. 

He said importantly, the report highlights that the land would remain a rail corridor, meaning it could be used for transport in the future if required.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said getting the Casino-to-Eltham section started would be helped by work already completed by NRRT, in conjunction with Tweed Shire Council. 

He said Council would work closely with Tweed Shire Council throughout the project, as well as engage with other regions which have existing rail trails.

He said as part of Council’s community engagement process, discussions would be held with landholders adjacent to the rail corridor, as well as other stakeholders.

“Adjacent landholders are traditionally – and understandably – apprehensive about trails close to their properties,” Mr Macdonald said.

“It is important these concerns are addressed before any trail conversion takes place.”

Mr Macdonald said the business case also included an allocation of $490,000 to upgrade the old Casino railway station.

He said a trail such as that proposed for Casino-to-Eltham would provide a number of opportunities: “A trail will bring additional tourists to the area and will create opportunities to build on existing businesses and industries of the area.

“Council will be encouraging enterprising residents to offer additional off-trailofferings to encourage visitors to stay a little longer.

“All of our towns and villages offer a range of outdoor recreation experiences, be it boating, canoeing, kayaking fishing, swimming, paddling, walking, photography – you name it we have it right here in the beautiful Richmond Valley.

“A nature-based attraction has the power to retain visitors for longer, spending money and generating business opportunities.”

Sun flowers in Casino

BYRON LINE UPDATE

Byron Council Supports Cycling and Walking in the rail corridor

At its recent meeting, Byron Council discussed the Arcadis report on the use of the section of the rail corridor in Byron Shire. Good news for rail trail advocates is that all the public transport options considered included “active transport facilities” as an essential part of the option. The report notes:
…public transport options combined with active transport facilities (cycling and pedestrian path) provide flexibility and present cost effective and fit for purpose solutions for the corridor.”

NRRT Inc. has always said it would work with any viable future use of the railcorridor. Our goal is to have a 130km trail along the whole of the Casino-Murwillumbah corridor. If part of that trail in some areas of Byron Shire is combined with other uses within the corridor, that still meets our goal.

We remain unconvinced Byron Council will be able to generate sufficient interest in investment in the type of public transport the report has investigated. But, so long as active transport remains a vital part of any use of the corridor, we will work with those who, like us, want to ensure the corridor remains in public ownership and is used for community benefit.

TWEED SECTION UPDATE 

Activities undertaken during the last few months include:•   Finalised Heritage Conservation Management Plans for:
–   Burringbar Railway Station
–   Burringbar Range Tunnel
–   Burringbar Underbridges
–   Dunbible Creek Bridge  
•   Finalised Biosecurity Plan (prepared by NSW Local Land Services).
•  Tweed Council resolved to accept Crown Land Manager appointment, as part of the governance arrangement for the Trail.
•  Undertook further environmental assessment for to complete the Review of Environmental Factors (planning approvals documentation) and to address matters raised by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
•  Parliamentary Counsel has provided a final draft of the amendment sought to the Council principal legal planning instrument, which is favourable to the long-term use of the Trail for ancillary commercial uses.
•  Design of a Bat refuge for environmental trial purposes, which is due to be constructed in July.
•   Finalisation of geotechnical investigations report.
•   Preparation of applications to NSW Fisheries for relevant permits associated with creek crossings and footings works.
•  Further detailed refinement of the Council’s concept design including bridge and trail surface treatments.
•  Finalisation of report from a Quantity Surveyor Consultancy on estimated cost for Council’s concept design for the rail trail.
•  Preparing and making ready procurement documentation to ensure the next phase of procurement and tendering (Early Tenderer Involvement phase) is not delayed. 
•  Maintained periodic Steering Committee Meetings with internal and external stakeholders, including: NSW Dept. of Premier and Cabinet, Transport and Crown Lands.
•  Further and additional meetings and conferences with elected Parliamentarians and Department heads regarding the process and timing of matters within the jurisdiction of the State’s various agencies, including legislative amendments, vesting of land, and the funding deed with Council.
•  Secured confirmation of pre-election (NSW) funding to operational maintenance.
•  Progressing a vegetation management plan.

Dunbible Creek Bridge by Rick Molloy

FUTURE ACTIVITIES

Lismore Markets 7th July – swing by!

Trevor, Marie and Peter at Lismore Boot Market.

CYCLE FOR LIFE

Come and enjoy Cycle For Life (for organ donation) on 28th July. 

You need to register from http://www.cycleforlife.com.au
This is a free event, supported every year by NRRT supporters as well as The Northern Rivers Bushwalking Club.

NSW TfNSW Bike Week

NRRT is thinking of applying for grant funding and ideas for a promotional activity during Bike Week in September. A possibility is bike safety and repair sessions in Casino, Murwillumbah, Lismore and Mullumbimby.
Let us know if you can think of other ideas.
https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/nsw-bike-week-2019

DONATE
If everyone can make a small donation to help keep our organisation running, it would be a great help. Thank-you.



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