Precedent established for rail trails in NSW

The disused rail line between Tumbarumba and Rosewood is set to be developed as the historic first rail trail in NSW.

This is welcome news for the Wagga Rail Trail proposal, as the rail trail concept has now been brought into law in this state, setting a precedent for the future establishment of a network of trails across NSW.

Legislation enabling trail development was passed by the NSW Parliament last month and will see a 22km section of disused rail line unlocked for reuse as a recreation and visitor facility.

In passing the legislation, the NSW government has set in place a process to ensure that valuable rail corridors remain as state owned land, allowing them to be adapted for alternative uses by local communities.

It is expected that the Tumbarumba to Rosewood corridor will be declared a crown reserve with the Snowy Valleys Council appointed to oversee development of the trail. This is similar to the process adopted by other Australian states in which rail trails have flourished.

Importantly, planning for our own proposal to develop a recreation trail between Wagga and Ladysmith is well underway, with a Strategic Directions and Implementation Plan due to be presented to the community in the coming months.

This follows an extensive round of community discussion in June, conducted by urban and landscape planners Inspiring Place.

A full week of consultations were held with a range of community stakeholders during which a strong understanding of the needs and interests of the Wagga community were developed.

During the discussions, consideration was given to planning for ongoing trail management and maintenance, responding to emergencies on the trail, specific requirements of different users, visitor needs, neighbour concerns, farmer interests, commercial opportunities, safety for users, integration with the levy bank upgrade and WWCC active travel plan and other important issues.

The date for the presentation of the Wagga Rail Trail Draft Strategic Directions and Implementation Plan will be announced in the near future, and we look forward to sharing the plan with our community.

Cristy Houghton