ADVOCATES from both sides of the tracks will meet head on this Thursday, with Attunga farmers raising concerns about a potential rail trail running through their properties.
Threats to biosecurity, disease and liability are seen as some of the biggest potential impacts to local properties, if the trail gets the green light.
A meeting has been planned for 6pm at the Attunga Hall for people with concerns about opening up the disused Barraba line for hikers and cyclists, while representatives from the newly-formed Tamworth to Manilla Rail Trail Association will be in attendance.
David Maunder has a property between Attunga and Manilla, while not completely opposed to a tourism trail through the region, he fears for local biosecurity and believes there’s more feasible options away from the disused tracks.
“It’s a good idea, I just think there are better options,” Mr Launder told The Leader.
“So it doesn’t interfere with lives and potentially bring disease on to properties.
“From October, we have to have bisosecurity plans on our properties ,” he said.
The Attunga farmer suggested the Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) could be a better option for a potential trail in the region.
“It would be a lot less costly to to fix up,” he said.
Mr Launder said it would also provide better access to emergency services as well.
Emily Bowman, who is leading the push for a local rail trail, is confident the concerns of local landholders will be heard.
“Many of these concerns have been raised before,” Mrs Bowman said.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel.”
Mrs Bowman said her group was very keen to work with all stakeholders as the project evolves.
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered and that’s all part of the process,” she said.
“It’s a project that’s years in the making, there will be community consultation, landholder consultation and a feasibility study.”
Rail Trails for NSW chairman, John Moore, said similar concerns have been tackled in other regions around the country.
“I understand the concerns of farmers,” Mr Moore said.
“The concerns have been raised in other places; there’s around 100 rail trails in Australia.
“It’s not there to make it hard for farmers.
“The state government wouldn’t have approved the Tumbarumba to Rosewood trail if they had biosecurity worries.”
The Leader understands John Holland Group will host a community consultation session in Manilla regarding the future of the town’s wooden viaduct on Thursday, August 24.