Tamworth Regional Council decision atoning for sins of the past

“LOVE is in the air,” John Paul Young once sang.

Perhaps it was the sickly sweet pre-Valentines miasma of candies, chocolates and carnations, of which Mr Young sung, that wafted through the halls of Ray Walsh House and into the council chambers.

Councillors were feeling wistful about a former flame.

There was a chance for council to break it off for good on Tuesday night, but the yearning was too strong.

The city has a long and perhaps chequered record with the West Tamworth train station.

It was the city’s first train station.

But things changed, new stations were built, the city grew and the west station was jilted.

Councillors said the station had been mistreated.

By the end of the debate on the motion which recommended tearing down the station, the councillors were singing from the same hymn sheet.

“Baby, please don’t go,” they crooned.

The station has been disused for a number of years, but now it’s time to hold it tighter than ever, according to council’s decision

There’s a sense it’s an act of atonement for sins of the councils past.

Councils which let bulldozers seemingly run rampant in the city razing now much-missed buildings, including the old capitol theatre and the theatre royal.

The decisions of the past have left Tamworth with a snaggle-toothed streetscape featuring the design du jour of decades gone by and punctuated with prefab.

Perhaps that’s why councillors were bombarded with emails and calls about the West Tamworth station in the lead-up to the meeting.

The station is not much to look at now adorned in flapping tarp, graffiti and apparently infested with termites.

However, it’s become a totem and a turning point for the council.

Hanging on to the West Tamworth train station is a way to say ‘we’ve changed’.

It’s a statement which could cost up to $600,000, according the council report.

This will be the next trial in council’s tumultuous relationship with built heritage.

“There’s already lots of demand on council’s limited funds,” mayor Col Murray said.

“This is a whole of community issue.”

Whether the state government sees value in the renewed tryst remains to be seen.

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