MLC's asked to return rail trail bill to lower house for redrafting

A group of concerned residents and farmers opposing the North East Rail Trail have sent a letter to MLCs asking they return a bill, which allows recreational use of disused rail lines, to the lower house for redrafting. 

The letter said there is strong local opposition to the proposed rail trail, and highlighted the challenges and associated costs of removing the rail infrastructure and installing a rail trail. 

The letter was sent by the North East Residents and Farmers (NERAF) chairman, Stuart Bryce.

Mr Bryce said he has provided MLC’s with a redrafted version of the bill, which supports the idea of a dual tourist railway and rail trail, similar to models in New Zealand. 

He said putting a rail trail adjacent to the tracks would allow people to ride sections, and then enjoy a tourist rail on other parts.

“The fact is that the bill that was put through the lower house … completely excludes tourist and heritage rail from the rail corridors in Tasmania,” he said. 

“There is time to get this right and we don’t just want to get it right for the North East line we want to get it right for every disused rail corridor in Tasmania, which represents 27 per cent of the infrastructure.”

Mr Bryce said the rail trail will not generate the promised spoils for local businesses and economies as it will not draw the projected crowds and is appealing to the wrong demographic. 

“In the last twelve months the total amount of money spent by cyclists here (at Mr Bryces vineyard) is $5,” he said.

“Really they’re not contributing that much.”

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