Rail trail plans progressing with tracks to be preserved
MARIE Lawton, from the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Group Inc (NRRTG), is over the moon with the progress being made on the rail trail.
"We are really gratified to have made so much progress since setting up our group in February 2013," she said.
Ms Lawton said the project now had a proponent - the North Coast Destination Network - and the next step was to set up a trust to advocate for the project.
She also moved to allay fears that the coming of the rail trail would mean that heavy rail services would never return to the Murwillumbah-Casino corridor.
"There is no danger that the rail trail will obliterate the possibility of rail returning. There will be special legislation that will maintain the same level of protection for the land," she said.
Ballina MP Don Page, long a supporter of the rail trail, confirmed that the entire corridor would be guaranteed protection under any rail trail legislation.
"The new Act will say we're going to remove some infrastructure in order to create a rail trail, but the conditions will include it remaining in public ownership as a preserved rail corridor, so if we wanted to put trains back on we could," he said.
Steve Martin, secretary of NRRTG, said he believed the corridor was under more threat without a rail trail because the land was lying dormant.
"We're pro-public transport," he said.