Farmers biosecurity fears should be able to be overcome

THE best laid plans often do go awry, but the recent detour taken on the push for a rail trail from Tamworth to Manilla has taken a curious turn.

Rail trail

Rail trail

Our neighbours to the north have rallied a great deal of support for a New England Rail Trail, with locals, pollies and farmers seeing merit in reviving the asset for travel by foot and two-wheels.

There’s some who still want to see trains chugging along the northern line once again, but the trail support is strong.

However, a plan in the Tamworth Regional Council area has riled local farmers.

Biosecurity is the trump card being played by farmers whose properties are traversed by the old rail line between Manilla and Tamworth.

A very valid concern.

Farmers are telling The Leader they will need to have an on-farm biosecurity management plan in place by October 1 and the thought of having any Tom, Dick or Harry traipsing through their land along the old line appears to be a bridge too far.

Does it have potential to stop the rail trail in its tracks or will it prove to be just a minor delay?

Neighbouring states have been down the rail trail route, with more than 100 already established around the country.

New Zealand and a number of other countries have steamed ahead with trails too.

So surely these issues have been overcome elsewhere.

It might appear NSW is running behind, it’s pertinent to remember the Tamworth Regional Rail Trail push is a very long way from being in the bag.

It’s a simple idea to re-purpose deteriorating infrastructure and bring some new faces into our towns and shops.

It’s just an idea that was floated to gauge community interest.

It was probably pushed into the spotlight a bit early when it was revealed Manilla’s viaduct could soon be demolished.

The historic structure is being seen as a potential centrepiece, if the trail goes ahead.

Advocates for the rail trail have previously said it would be years down the track, if it ever came to fruition.

Which is a salient point at this stage in the debate.

There’s a very long way to go with much consultation and negotiation needed, so nothing should seem impossible at this point.