A change in route to the North-East’s heritage railway and bike rail trail is on the cards.
An alternative route recommended as the council’s preferred outcome with both projects was passed at the City of Launceston Council meeting on Monday, September 24.
The new route would see the heritage railway run from Turners Marsh to Wyena, and rail trail extending from Lilydale Falls to Lilydale.
The state government announced the rail trail and heritage railway plans as a compromise between the Dorset Council and North-East Railway group in July.
This meant heritage rail between Coldwater Creek, Turners Marsh, and Lilydale, and rail trail between Lilydale Falls and Scottsdale.
The City of Launceston Council will now contact the Dorset Council and the Launceston and North-East Railway organisation to urge them to work together on the project, so the rail trail and heritage railway can successfully coexist.
The correspondence will ask the Dorset Council to request additional funding from the state government for the rail trail portion of the project.
Launceston North-East Railway community liaison Wendy McLennan said she was happy the City of Launceston Council had become involved in the debate.
“They’ve been fence-sitting,” she said.
“We were happy with the recommendation, because the Launceston council has made a decision to take part in the whole debate now.
“We’re really pleased that they've taken responsibility for the Launceston side of the railway track, and that we’ve now got the tunnel and the Dennison Gorge, which gives us a tourism product.”
She said the extension would mean the railway could assist Bridestowe Lavender by running a bus service from Wyena through to the farm.
Most aldermen at the meeting were in support of the change.
Alderman Robin McKendrick said though he believed the railway should span Launceston to Scottsdale, he supported the expansion to Wyena as it would give tourists greater access to Bridestowe.
However, the council’s recommendation that the routes be altered is not set in stone.
Dorset Council mayor Greg Howard said the City of Launceston Council’s decision to did not make a difference to Dorset.
“Effectively, the decision is that they’re going to write us a letter,” he said.
“We’ll receive the letter, but beyond that it doesn’t mean anything.
“They don’t get to make the call, and nor do we. It’ll be made by the state government.”