Confident bid for Tweed Rail Trail
FUNDING for a Tweed Rail Trail is looking promising after a high-level meeting at Parliament House in Sydney last week.
Tweed Shire councillor Barry Longland returned from his meeting with NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, confident a Tweed Rail Trail was likely.
The NSW Government put $110 million on the table through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund for rail trails across the state last year.
A short rail trail at Tumbarumba seeking $5 million won the first round of funding, while the Tweed council’s group bid for a $75 million dollar Northern Rivers Rail Trail, spanning four council areas from Murwillumbah to Lismore, failed.
Cr Longland is now confident a leaner 25km Tweed Rail Trail from the old Murwillumbah Train Station to Wooyung Rd, taking in the Tweed Regional Art Gallery and surrounding villages, has met the government’s criteria for funding later this year.
Estimated to cost about $13 million, Cr Longland said the Tweed Rail Trail demonstrated economic benefit, with at least 62 jobs expected to be created in its first year; a return on investment; community support and stakeholder engagement.
“It was important to be there and promote our rail trail,” Cr Longland said.
“I received great feedback about our project and it did tend to tick all the boxes for economic benefit.
“Within two months we’ll have an answer.”
Cr Longland said the rail trail was projected to attract at least 27,000 visitors in its first year, including 17,000 from interstate.
“Our trail pays for itself in the first two years, with an estimated $3.66 million per annum return on investment,” Cr Longland said. But he said the NSW Government wouldn’t fund the rail trail without community support.
“Clearly you’ll never get 100%,” Cr Longland said. “But we’ve got really great support.
“We’ve had meetings and forums over the past two years and council has consistently voted to support this project.”
He said council was meeting with affected landholders and dealing with any concerns.
Stops will include Stokers Siding, Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Ck, ending at Wooyung Rd.
Your say: letters@ tweeddailynews.com.au.