OPINION: Rail Trail still a long way from reality

David Peters
28th May 2024

Armidale Regional Council (ARC) recent actions regarding motioning towards a commencement of preliminary work for a permanent way destroying cycle track within the Great Northern Railway (GNR) corridor can only be seen as an undemocratic debacle from a hijacked council.
The tyrannical stance adopted by Mayor Coupland and some councillors has turned transparent impartial representation from Local Government on its head. How can the majority vote 6-5 on the 24 April 2024 to pass an amended motion to delay proceedings on the trail until further information is sought by councillors be over-turned by a mayoral recission motion moved only a few weeks later at a meeting where not all councillors were in attendance? This recission motion was only passed after the meeting chairperson Councillor Redwood used his casting vote, because the result was 5-5 due to the absence of Councillor O’Brien.
Both ARC and Glen Innes Severn Council (GISC) have a huge task in front of them if they think they can commence any form of work within the GNR corridor in the next few months. One fact that is most obvious is that neither council have “overwhelming community support” for a rail trail which is a legislative requirement.
S&GGR Inc. conducted a very well attended Public Forum last Tuesday evening where David Peters, the businessman intending to consolidate his organic food, health and beauty processing facilities to Llangothlin, was the guest speaker. The nature and scope of this development requiring connection to the main north rail line was brilliantly explained with much detail. We take this opportunity to thank the community and councillors for attending and listening respectfully. David’s presentation lasting 48 minutes was clear and concise in every aspect. He answered all questions accurately with a no-nonsense approach.
We hope that the councillors present and the community in general appreciated the good faith and good will shown by David Peters in his open and public address.
Rob Lenehan
Chairman S&GGRInc.