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Tweed Shire News

Northern Rivers Rail Trail on track to open early next year

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Northern Rivers Rail Trail on track to open early next year

By MARGARET DEKKER

128-years after it first opened to great fanfare, the Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge at Dunbible south of Murwillumbah is ready to carry across a new era of adventurers, after a major renovation as part of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail development.

The restoration of this and another heritage-listed rail bridge at Mooball, signal the start of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is nearing.

To mark the milestone, Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry, and Member for Tweed Geoff Provest visited the historic Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge last Friday, Cr Cherry even ‘test-riding’ the new Rail Trail experience.

“You can sense the excitement building in the community as we start the countdown to the rail trail opening early next year and will be a great addition to our vibrant community,” Cr Cherry said.

The old Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge and Burringbar Under Bridge No.1 first opened in 1894 and are two of the largest and most historically significant landmarks along the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

The rail bridges have been fully restored to their former grandeur under the guidance of some of Australia’s leading rail restoration experts.

Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry said the bridge restorations will complete full access to 24-kilometres of the nature-filled trail, taking in some of the most beautiful parts of the Tweed Valley.

“The rail trail will not only be an incredible way to experience nature in the Tweed, it will also preserve some of the important railway heritage which is exemplified by the most grand and newly-restored heritage-listed bridges at Dunbible and Mooball,” Cr Chris Cherry, Tweed Shire Mayor said.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest agreed it was wonderful to see the remarkable historical landmarks restored to their former 1890s glory.

“I applaud the project team for their commitment to restoring our history and to delivering a high-quality recreational asset for the community and visitors to enjoy for decades to come,” Mr Provest said.

“The rail trail will be a priceless public asset not only for activities like cycling and walking but also because it will underpin new business opportunities and support local jobs in the Tweed,” he added.

Prior to the restoration works, trees and vegetation had grown over and obscured parts of Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge and it was deemed unsafe for public use.

The complex restoration process took about 5 months and was completed under the guidance of steel treatment experts, including the team behind steel-treating the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It involved workers using reverse pressure enclosed scaffolding to protect themselves and the environment while removing the old lead paint and applying the state-of-the-art steel preservation treatment.

Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge is a classic example of the American-inspired steel-through-truss bridges that became a hallmark of the North Coast Railway Line after it opened in 1894.

The restoration of the Upper Burringbar Underbridge No.1 near Mooball, a bolted plate girder bridge, also involved complex preservation works.

Construction will now continue to finalise the approaches to both bridges with finishing works to include new balustrades and decking.

Project Director Iain Lonsdale said the Tweed section of the rail trail was on track to open early in 2023.

“The Tweed section of the rail trail between Murwillumbah and Crabbes Creek is looking fantastic, and the contractors are well on the way to completing the earthworks, bridge restorations and installation of the gravel surface,” Mr Lonsdale said.

“In the next and final phase of works, the focus will shift to works in and around the villages of Burringbar, Crabbes Creek and South Murwillumbah.

“Anticipation is definitely building in the community with a lot of people making plans about how they will enjoy the trail and take advantage of the many opportunities it presents.”

Funding for the Tweed section was provided by the Australian Government, under its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Package Fund, and NSW Government’s Restart NSW fund.

For project updates and more information about the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, visit yoursaytweed.com.au/railtrail.

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Flood damaged information centre to be demolished ahead of Budd Park upgrade

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World Heritage Rainforest Centre at Budd Park Upgrade
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Flood damaged information centre to be demolished ahead of Budd Park upgrade

 

The Council is seeking community feedback on a draft concept plan to upgrade Budd Park in Murwillumbah, a popular meeting spot beside the Tweed River. This upgrade is part of a $15.5 million funding package from the Australian and NSW governments aimed at restoring and improving community assets damaged by storms or floods.

The proposal includes plans to demolish the World Heritage Rainforest Centre, which once housed the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre. The Centre was heavily damaged in the 2017 and 2022 floods.

Mayor of Tweed Shire, Chris Cherry, explained that the Council decided to remove the flood-prone building to prioritize public safety and reduce future risks associated with its vulnerable location. “Budd Park is a significant meeting place for Tweed residents, with generations of families enjoying picnics on the lawns and the river serving as a picturesque backdrop for Year 12 formal photos,” said Mayor Cherry.

“The demolition of the building will allow for the revitalisation of the park. The space previously occupied by the building and internal car park will be converted into parkland, enhancing access to quality public open space for residents and visitors. This transformation will create a vibrant community hub, promoting outdoor activities and social interaction, and significantly improving the area’s aesthetic and recreational value.”

An artist impression of the Concept Plan for the upgrade of Budd Park.

An artist impression of the Concept Plan for the upgrade of Budd Park.

Proposed works include:

  • Demolishing the World Heritage Rainforest Centre and internal road
  • Repairing existing public toilets
  • Retaining the western car park with an additional accessible parking bay
  • Reducing the size of the eastern car park by five spaces, resealing the car park, and enabling entry and exit onto Tweed Valley Way
  • Installing accessible shelters, barbecues, picnic tables, seating, and rubbish bins
  • Creating connecting pathways and bike racks
  • Installing a drinking fountain
  • Adding informative flood markers and painting the existing feature pole
  • Landscaping and tree planting

Mayor Cherry emphasised that the decision to demolish the Centre arose from the need to address public safety and reduce flood risks. “Frequent flooding has caused extensive damage to the building, making it uninhabitable without significant repairs. Additionally, its flood-prone location makes the building uninsurable, imposing a financial burden on the Council and diverting funds from other essential community projects and services.”

“The proposed upgrade offers an opportunity to deliver modern, resilient infrastructure capable of withstanding future weather events,” she added.

The Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre has been relocated to Murwillumbah Railway Station, at the trailhead of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. The Green Cauldron Panorama mural, previously located within the Centre, has been stored for safekeeping.

The World Heritage Rainforest Centre is scheduled for demolition in late 2024, with construction beginning in early 2025.

The Council invites residents to provide their feedback on the draft concept plan for the Budd Park upgrade before 4 pm on July 10, 2024. View the concept plan and share your input here.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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Riding the Wave: Emma Perrier needs to overcome a funding barrier to compete at the 2024 World Surf League Longboard Tour

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Vice-president of Evans Head Malibu Club Emma Perrier
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Riding the Wave: Emma Perrier needs to overcome a funding barrier to compete at the 2024 World Surf League Longboard Tour

 

By Sarah Waters

When Emma Perrier was eight years old, she convinced her dad to enter her into her first surfing competition, the Annual Evans Head Malibu Classic.

Fifteen years later, she has been selected as one of the top 24 women surfers, from across the world, to compete in the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour.

Emma, 23, is still coming to terms with the news after only finding out a few weeks ago that she had made the tour, which starts at Bells Beach, in Victoria, in less than a month on July 13.

“I had just arrived at work and was making myself a coffee, checking my emails as you normally do and I didn’t really believe it, but an email notification (from the WSL) came up saying I had been selected,” she said.

“It was a very surreal moment.”

Emma has been active in the local longboarding community since she was a young surfer.

She grew up in Brisbane but spent her weekends among the waves on her longboard at Evans Head, where her parents had a beach house.

Her surfing style was shaped by the ‘veterans of longboarding’ at Evans Head Malibu Club, who helped her to fine tune her ‘drop knee.’

Over the years she has become a familiar name at local surfing competitions along the coast, but she had never competed at a professional level – until four months ago.

In February, Emma decided to enter the 2024 Gold Coast Open WSL Longboard Qualifying Series event (for the Asia Pacific region) at Burleigh Heads.

She was ranked as the last seed out of nine competitors but managed to finish in second place.

It wasn’t enough to gain her automatic entry into the WSL Longboard Tour, however.

The winner from each of the seven regional WSL qualifying events typically makes the tour.

Emma Perrier being lifted up at the beach

Tweed Heads resident Emma Perrier, 23, has been selected for this year’s World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour but needs help funding her travel costs

But the woman who bet Emma in the qualifier (Tully White) had been pre-selected for this year’s tour as she was one of the top 10 competitors from last year’s event.

Emma said it was ‘very exciting’ when she finally found out, via email, that she had made the WSL tour.

But it has only given her six weeks to prepare and scramble together the necessary funds to take part in the competition, which she estimates will cost about $30,000.

The tour will feature four international events, running from July – October.

It will start at Bells Beach, in Australia, followed by an event at the ‘birthplace of longboarding’ Huntington Beach in California.

The location of the third event is still to be announced, but the championship will take place at famed surf spot El Salvador.

Emma said as exciting as it has been to make the tour, it has also been daunting when looking at the travel costs.

“You have to pay your way to every stop on the tour, there is no funding provided by the WSL or Surfing Australia.

“I work full time (as a data analyst) and my work has been super supportive, but it would take me years to save up what I need for the tour, and I don’t have much time.

“I don’t have any sponsors yet – even at the qualifier event I was the only competitor who didn’t have any sponsor stickers on their board.”

Emma has started an online fundraising page in the hope it will allow her to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s all very new to me the self-promotion, but I’ve got to try, and that’s my goal for the next month to try and find some funds.

“This tour gives you the opportunity to surf waves that you might not ever be able to – and particularly by yourself.

“My goal is to win a world title and I’d love to make the Olympics, if they do decide to have longboarding in Los Angeles in 2028, but just been on a world tour is such an amazing learning curve.”

As an added confidence boost before the tour, Emma won the Open Women’s Final at the NSW Longboard State Titles at Port Stephens, two weeks ago.

She is the vice-president of the Evans Head Malibu Club and they have got right behind her to try and support her as much as possible.

In the past, Emma has helped to raise a huge amount of money for breast cancer research.

She started a popular surfing event known as ‘The Breast Comp Ever,’ a women-only longboarding competition in Evans Head.

The competition has helped to raise more than $155,000 since it started in 2021.

To help Emma participate in the 2024 WSL Longboard Tour please google: EMMA PERRIER – WSL LONGBOARD TOUR FUNDRAISER and donate to her fundraising page.

 

For more sports news, click here.

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Kingscliff NSW News

Do You Support an Extension to the Lease of the Kingscliff Temporary Housing Village?

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Kingscliff Temporary Housing Village
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Do You Support an Extension to the Lease of the Kingscliff Temporary Housing Village?

 

Council is seeking community feedback on a proposal to extend the lease on parkland at Kingscliff to accommodate the temporary housing pod for an additional six months. The NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA) has requested a six-month extension to the temporary village lease at Elrond Drive, Kingscliff, extending it to December 2025.

The extension would provide additional time for the RA and Northern Rivers Housing (NRH) to support residents into long-term housing and to allow for the decommissioning of the pods during this extension period.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry emphasised the importance of this extension, stating, “There are currently more than 450 households living in 11 temporary housing sites across the region, and a significant waitlist of people still seeking housing support.”

“Kingscliff’s temporary housing village has 31 self-contained housing units which provide a safe and secure home to more than 60 people affected by the 2022 floods. Some residents are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt, while others need to find an affordable rental property,” Cr Cherry added.

While the Council supports this request for a six-month extension, it seeks input from local residents to understand their views on the request before making a final decision.

Council owns the land at 99 Elrond Drive, where the Kingscliff temporary housing village is located. In June 2022, Council entered into a three-year lease of the property with Resilience NSW, now known as the NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA). The lease was established for the construction, maintenance, and operation of temporary housing and is set to expire on 16 June 2025.

The temporary housing villages were originally intended to provide up to two years of accommodation for displaced households as a result of the 2022 floods, with the remaining lease period allocated for site restoration. However, due to widespread housing stress and contractor shortages in the region, residents of the temporary housing village face significant obstacles to returning home or securing alternative stable housing.

In November 2023, Council received a request from the NSW RA to extend the lease for an additional two years until June 2027. Following this request, a meeting was hosted by the NSW RA and Council with neighbouring residents in February 2024. During this meeting, the NSW RA indicated the request to extend the lease for two more years (until 2027) had been withdrawn.

In May 2024, Council received a new request from the NSW RA to extend the lease for an additional six months until 31 December 2025. At Council’s meeting on 16 May, it was resolved to agree to this extension, subject to public notification and consultation with residents of the pod village and the wider community.

Additionally, it was resolved to consult with the community to determine the future use of the space. This consultation will take place separately before the end of the lease in December next year.

Residents are encouraged to provide feedback on the extension of the lease before 5 pm on Wednesday, 3 July 2024. Council will consider all submissions before deciding whether to proceed with the extension.

Have your say online at yoursaytweed.com.au/99ElrondDrive, email tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au, or write to the General Manager, Tweed Shire Council, PO Box 816, Murwillumbah, NSW 2484.

 

For more local Kingscliff news, click here.

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