The Richmond Valley Council will discuss the Northern Rivers Rail Trail masterplan this week.
The Richmond Valley Council will discuss the Northern Rivers Rail Trail masterplan this week.

ALL ABOARD: The full Northern Rivers Rail Trail plan revealed

THE final masterplan for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is expected to be passed by Richmond Valley Council this week.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail from Casino to Bentley master is a $7.5 million project, which is being fully funded by the Australian Government’s National Tourism Icons Program.

This document for the 13.4km rail trail section sets out the key elements of the project, including the design concepts for four precincts which represent important features and attractions of the trail.

Map of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.
Map of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

The four key destination points in the plan include:

1. Old Casino Station – also the starting point of the NRRT therefore it will include an information centre and cafe/ amenities, parking and meeting areas.

2. The Primex site provides another parking/ drop off node.

3. The ‘Bat’ tunnel, a point of interest with many opportunities to explore, including the tunnel walk, views from on top, quiet nature sounds from below, and mini train cycle experience. Further bat studies are currently being undertaken to confirm if the tunnel can be used during the warmer months by trail users.

4. Bentley Road area – amenities and a camping ground, playground with rope climb and bridge experience over Back Bridge, also the termination point. Future link to the Lismore Council area.

The plan was put on public exhibition earlier this year and received 78 community submissions.

Part of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail.
Part of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

Key feedback included:

  • Distance markers and usage counters to be installed at either end
  • Livestock/machinery access for landholders with property either side of the rail corridor to be considered in future design processes
  • All options to be explored so Naughton’s Gap tunnel can be used as a key attraction
  • Constructed surface should be able to support wheelchair access
  • Additional planting to be considered in the planting palette, with a view to using species commonly found in the area
  • Opportunity to create a significant wildlife corridor which supports existing native wildlife, along with future wildlife needs.
  • Further details to be included in relation to amenities and waste management
  • Opportunities to create a space that acknowledges local Aboriginal history
  • Need to ensure fencing, security and biosecurity is addressed for adjacent landholders
  • Submissions received were for and against dogs and horses on the rail trail. How will this be managed?
  • Acknowledgment of the Old Station sites along the rail trail corridor
  • Thirty submissions were not related to the master plan as they focused on the return of trains to the corridor.

Council staff noted that many of the concerns raised will be addressed in the future concept and detailed design stages, together with further consultation opportunities.

The council will vote on whether to support the master plan at Tuesday’s meeting.


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