Thanks again for your continued support to make a rail trail happen in the Northern Rivers.
Since our last issue, we’ve launched our website, which will serve as your best source of information about progress in this project. Local filmmaker Sharon Shostak created a delightful short film about our rail trail vision – we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
We’ve also been busy gathering evidence of successful rail trail projects around the globe, to provide to the upcoming scoping study which will investigate the social, environmental and economic worthiness of a rail trial in our region.
In this issue:
Thanks to Gerry Presnell for providing the two photos below and Steve Martin for the third photo taken at Eltham.
NRRT Inc website is up and running!
We’ve created pages that inform, inspire and invigorate interest in the rail trail project. Visit www.northernriversrailtrail.org.au to stay up to date with how the project is tracking and find out how you can get involved in supporting this wonderful opportunity for eco-friendly and health conscious growth in our region.
See it now: rail trail short film online
To paint a picture of how a rail trail could improve life in our community we took local filmmaker, Sharon Shostak, to a disused train station to muse about our ideas and vision for the future. Sharon is a hard-working creative, who moved to the Northern Rivers as a child and credits the fertile environment with sparking her creativity. Since winning prestigious international awards in film making, Sharon has worked mainly in documentary, educational and music video clips. Currently contracted as the online filmmaker for Echonet Daily, she shoots, edits and produces short documentary clips about events in the local community on a weekly basis.
We had a lovely time sharing our vision, see it online at http://www.northernriversrailtrail.org.au/.
Scoping study gets moving
The Northern Rivers Rail Trail moved a step closer to becoming a reality in August, with the announcement of the Terms of Reference for the Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Trail Scoping Study. Identifying the Terms of Reference for a scoping study is an important early step in developing any carefully considered project.
We are very pleased with the terms because they will guide the vision and objectives of the project. Under these Terms of Reference, the scoping study will consult the community, government agencies and previous studies of existing rail trails in Australia and the world to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a rail trail in our region.
We are confident that the study will prove our belief in the rail trail’s many benefits for the whole Northern Rivers community including growing opportunities for tourism, jobs and recreational activity. Importantly, the scoping study will keep in mind the return of trains to the tracks, if rail transport ever becomes viable in the future.
The next step in the process is to grant the scoping study to a successful tender. Minister for the North Coast and Minister for Local Government, Don Page, told the Echo recently that he hoped to have the report six months after the report tender is awarded. We’ll let you know when the successful tender is announced!
We are currently working on collecting supportive evidence of the many rail trail projects which are proving to be beneficial to communities in Australia and around the world.
What can you do?
Help to make the rail trail happen! Show your support by liking and sharing our Facebook page, submit photos and stories to our competitions, sign our petition, watch and share our short film online. Tell your friends about this project so we can all say we played a part in creating a fun way to enjoy the outdoors!
MP agrees: Rail trail can get employment back on track
After announcing the scoping study in August, Minister for the North Coast, Don Page MP, spoke in NSW Parliament about how a rail trail could increase business and employment opportunities in the Northern Rivers community:
“From the feedback I have had since announcing the study into the rail trail I believe there is very strong support for a rail trail across the Northern Rivers community.
… An example of an extremely successful trail is in Queenstown, New Zealand. The Queenstown trail, which opened in 2012, has exceeded all expectations. Initial predictions were that between 25,000 and 35,000 visitors would be using the trail for multi-day and shorter rides during the first five years. In fact, there were 95,000 users within the first six months of opening.
(A rail trail) would have the additional benefit of encouraging people to move beyond Byron Bay to explore other parts of the region such as Casino, Lismore, Bangalow, Mullumbimby, Billinudgel and Murwillumbah … I believe it is a project that will benefit our entire region in many ways, including through increased tourism, greater employment and more business opportunities.” Mr Page said.
View the full speech at the Parliament of NSW webpage.
We agree that a rail trail will encourage visitors to explore towns which are sometimes left off the sightseeing itinerary. Spreading the tourist dollar will build economic and employment opportunities throughout the Northern Rivers region.