Rail study money hauled in

COUNCILLOR Rodney Degens’s success last month in carving $25,000 off Coffs Harbour City Council’s 2011/12 Environmental Projects budget for a local rail feasibility study was short-lived.

At Thursday’s Coffs Harbour City Council meeting councillors voted in favour of rescinding that motion and revoting the $25,000 to the Orara River Rehabilitation Project.

Former mayor Cr Jenny Bonfield, who strongly opposed the rail vote in March but could not muster the numbers at that meeting for an amendment, led the move to rescind the funding.

The March 24 meeting was chaired by deputy mayor Cr Denise Knight in the absence of the mayor.

Cr Degens was granted leave of absence from Thursday’s meeting so he was not on hand to defend his case for looking at the feasibility of a local train service between Macksville and Glenreagh.

The Orara River Project will receive funding of $195,000 in the 2011/12 financial year for erosion control, fencing, camphor laurel and privet control, native plant propagation, revegetation and tree planting.

Cr Bonfield, said while she supported Cr Degens’ rail idea in principle, the community had not put it forward.

The mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, said a feasibility study was likely to cost $300,000 to $350,000, the rail service would be a $20-$40 million project and realistically he did not see it happening in his lifetime.



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