VISION: Mayor Simon Richardson.
VISION: Mayor Simon Richardson. Contributed

Rail trail and public transport for Byron Bay?

ONE of the things I most appreciate in this community is that people are not afraid to ask questions and challenge all levels of government about issues that are important to them.

Since the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line closed, Council and many people in the Byron Shire have been lobbying for proper investigation into the use of the rail corridor for transport, not satisfied to accept a rail trail as the only option.

Don't get me wrong - I am a strong supporter of rail trails and I think one in the Byron Shire would be great, but, as a Council, we have maintained that we need to know what is fully possible.

Can we have our cake and eat it too?

A rail trail and a public transport network?

It looks like we can!

At today's Council meeting, we will receive a report we commissioned on the feasibility of reactivating the rail corridor in the Byron Shire for multi-use transport.

I can't tell you how exciting this report is for Councillors and you, the community.   

After much investigation, including engineering and social impact assessments and an economic feasibility study, the consultant found that the corridor is in reasonable condition and that there is a sound argument to open the corridor for light rail vehicles that could operate alongside a rail trail.

Great news, and councillors will be providing direction to staff to fully digest the implications of the report and report back to us so we can decide what our next steps will be. 

On a sad note, councillors and staff are grieving the sudden loss of Tony Nash, our Manager Works, a skilled engineer and someone who worked really hard for the Byron Shire Community.

Tony was passionate about his work and the people he worked with.

Our thoughts are with Tony's family.

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