Chamber throws support behind rail trail

The Guyra & District Chamber of Commerce Inc. supports the New England Rail Trail Project.

Guyra Chamber requested council support the closure of the rail corridor between Black Mountain and Ben Lomond, and that council immediately contact the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro (pictured), to indicate its willingness to participate in the trial of three NSW locations for the development of rail trails.

Failure to proceed on this project will mean that the opportunity is lost to this region forever.

The Guyra Chamber wishes to remind council that in its Economic Development Strategy document 2017-2025, section 4.2, page 25, which was adopted on December 13, Council states that it would “undertake a feasibility study and prepare a full business case for the New England Rail Trail project.”

We call upon council to get behind this project which we consider will provide significant opportunities for the growth of tourism with flow-on business benefits in the region.

The Deputy Premier announced that the state government would facilitate the trial of three rail trails in NSW. 

Part of that announcement stated: “After the rail trail between Murwillumbah and Crabbes Creek received the green light, Mr Barilaro said the State Government could officially begin their trials at three NSW locations

"We said we were going to trial three areas - we are getting on with the trials and from that hopefully it will lead to more opportunities throughout the region,” he said.

Mr Barilaro said his office has already received 25 to 30 expressions of interest from councils and communities across NSW.

"Let's get the rail trails out of the ground, see what we learn from them and from that, it will absolutely help us learn and build onto a rail trail program for the future.”

He said the best way to preserve rail for the future is to use the corridor for some purpose. 

At this point in time the New England Rail Trail is one of the three trial areas proposed. If council does not support the closure of the corridor as proposed, it is likely that the opportunity for funding from the state government will be lost.

Closing the rail corridor for a rail trail does not prevent the corridor being returned to the use of trains at some future stage.

Hans Hietbrink

Vice President, on behalf of the Guyra Chamber