Manilla rallies to save viaduct from John Holland group proposal to tear down landmark

ON ALL FRONTS: There's a multi-pronged push to save Manilla's historic wooden viaduct.

ON ALL FRONTS: There's a multi-pronged push to save Manilla's historic wooden viaduct.

THE fight to to keep Manilla’s historic wooden viaduct is heating up, as local band together to protect the unique landmark.

There’s action on a number of fronts with petitions handed over and committees forming in the community.

An online petition calling for signatures to save the Manilla viaduct garnered more than 1200 signatures, but fears were raised the digital would not be accepted.

The petition was launched by Tamworth-man Andrew Maughan.

But he believes it’s about more than just the physical viaduct.

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“This is the beginning of a movement,” Mr Maughan told The Leader.

“I think the viaduct was the line in the sand.

“The viaduct is a catalyst to get a lot of people together and say ‘this place has a lot potential, but it needs some focus’.”

Mr Maughan said he was delighted to see the protest get more than 1000 supporters.

I think the viaduct was the line in the sand. - Protester Andrew Maughan

“My understanding is Kevin Anderson will accept and present the petition,” he said.

“If they don’t accept it on a technicality, I think that would only make the people more galvanised on the issue.”

Manilla-local Mandy Skewes has been doing her best galvanise the community on the issue, with a new committee and a meeting to held on Thursday night.

Ms Skewes said there were concerns the community still weren’t being kept in the loop with reports, but the issue remains the talk of the town.

“I’m not getting any work done,” she said, joking.

“They come in to work and ask me. I walk down town and people are asking me about it.”

Meanwhile the region’s rail trail advocate, Emily Bowman, has also formed a committee and written a letter to Kevin Anderson calling on the MP to “stay any plans John Holland Rail have in removing the viaduct”.

Mr Anderson met with Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s office on Friday.

“I have been advised that John Holland intend to hold a community consultation within the coming weeks, once more details come to hand I will ensure the community is informed,” he said in a written statement.

“The community’s online petition will be taken directly to the Minister so their voices can be heard on the matter.”

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