Tweed rail trail pilot bid to round the next bend this month

THE Northern Rivers Rail Trail is nearing D Day, with the State Government to decide at the end of the month whether the Tweed pilot rail trail will be short- listed to make a more detailed pitch.

The proposed network of pedestrian and cyclist trails on the disused Murwillumbah to Casino train line will cost $75.5 million and this includes the pilot project section from Murwillumbah rail station to the Tweed Regional Art Gallery, at a cost of $1.2 million.

The State Government is keeping expressions of interest confidential but Tweed Shire Council director of engineering David Oxenham said the council's entry had a good chance at claiming some of the $50million set aside from the Regional Infrastructure Plan earlier this year.

"We assisted the Northern Rivers Rail Trail group, along with the other councils, to lodge an expression of interest for the overall Northern Rivers Rail Trail project," Mr Oxenham said.

To further the project on April 23 the Northern Rivers Rail Trail held a fundraiser in Bangalow, raising $6000 towards the group's campaign to bring the project to fruition.

NRRT secretary Geoff Meers predicted after the State Government's evaluations of submissions, construction of the trail could begin in as little as six months.

Some businesses heralded the rail trail as a boon to the tourism industry, while some farmers do not agree with cyclist paths being constructed on agricultural land.

Concerns will be addressed once funding is released and the rail trail progresses to a community consultation phase.

Proponents say the Tweed highlights of the rail trail could include the Tweed Shire tunnel, a 500m tunnel in the heart of firefly and glow worm country, and the Burringbar Permaculture Academy, which teaches permaculture.

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