Lockyer Valley Mayor urges residents to voice concerns on Inland Rail
THE Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project is quickly gaining momentum but time is running out for the community to voice their concerns.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council mayor Tanya Milligan today urged residents to attend Australian Rail Track Corporation's final information session.
The information session will be held on Tuesday, May 23, at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre.
There will be two sessions on the day, the first running from 1-2.30pm and the second running from 5.30-7pm.
A presentation on the draft Terms of Reference and how the public can provide comments, will be explained.
The draft TOR covers all the matters ARTC must address when preparing the Environmental Impact Statement for the project.
Cr Milligan urged residents to have their say and stressed the need for community submissions to be made to complement council submissions.
"If you've gone to the consultation evenings with ARTC that's fabulous, however, that is not going to be the meat in the sandwich as far as really setting the parameters and what the conditions may look like,” she said.
"People really need to go and they really need to get their head around it because its exceptionally important for our future.”
The Inland Rail project, which is set to run through the Lockyer Valley, is split into two separate sections being the Gowrie to Helidon and Helidon to Calvert sections.
Cr Milligan accepted the project was going ahead, and it was of national significance.
However she was concerned it would be another hit to the region.
"We had 2011, 2013 (floods), and our mayor passed away,” she said.
"But at the moment there's just so much interest and confidence and businesses coming to town and it really feels like we've come to that fork in the road where great things are happening.
"Inland rail is just going through the guts of it and its just exceptionally difficult to deal with.”
Branell Homestead owner and Lockyer Valley Tourism Association president Kathy Brady also urged the community to speak up.
"It's very complicated and I think it will be very hard to avoid it coming through and I think that's a shame,” she said.
"But, maybe while we all have the opportunity to we should put in things that at least make it a little bit better and not as noisy, awful on the eyes, maybe some beautiful arches or something to try and make it a bit better.
"Ideally, it would be better if it was somewhere else but we need to put in our submission as to how to mitigate the problems that it's going to cause, and if we don't do that then nothing will change.”
She hoped submissions on the TOR could address concerns surrounding tourism.
"The Lockyer Valley is a very beautiful tourist location and one of our main draw-cards is our peaceful, scenic rural area,” she said.
"So we are very concerned about many things and the visual affect and impact in many ways of the freight train line.”
The project will require a land corridor with an average width of 65 metres, which would allow future upgrades.
Both sections in the Lockyer Valley will see double stack freight trains up to 1800 metres long, with future upgrades possibly allowing trains up to 3.6km long.
The public comment period will close at 5pm on June 5.
To attend the final information session residents need to RSVP to the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org