Leaders back link to M'bah

TWEED MP Geoff Provest has slammed Tweed Shire Council for not including the possibility of a light rail system linking Murwillumbah and Coolangatta in its Local Environment Plan (LEP).

Mr Provest, part of an alliance seeking the restoration of the Murwillumbah to Casino rail line with a link to Gold Coast Airport, yesterday said the LEP should take that option into account.

He said it showed a “lack of foresight” from council to not include the rail service in the plan, which was supposed to show “the future of the Tweed”.

“I'm asking council to re-evaluate their position on it,” Mr Provest said.

“My issue is that they are going to release an LEP which takes no consideration of an integrated light rail line.

“What's the point of putting up houses everywhere if people don't have access to a rail service?

“There is no point having the line finish at Murwillumbah. To make it viable, you need that link into Queensland - and we need to let them know now.”

But Tweed Mayor Joan van Lieshout, who has also thrown support behind the train campaign, said at such short notice it would be difficult to include any sort of rail service in the LEP, expected to be on public display by the end of this month.

“Whether it went in the LEP is something we'd have to work very hard on and very quickly towards,” Cr van Lieshout said.

“But for now I'm going to put a proposal though in a motion to council that we investigate the possibility of a corridor between Murwillumbah and Coolangatta.”

The link would give Tweed residents access to the Gold Coast and Brisbane, and vice versa, once the Robina to Coolangatta rail link is complete.

Mr Provest said it had the potential to increase tourism, lower Tweed's drink-driving figures and allow greater mobility for seniors and school students.

It would also give motorists a way to combat rising fuel costs, he said.

Cr van Lieshout said it would do wonders for local tourism.

“From a Tweed Shire perspective, joining Murwillumbah to Coolangatta would be positive for both sides,” she said.

“If we could get something running from Brisbane down to Byron Bay, it would be magnificent for tourism.”

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