On Thursday this week, Snowy Monaro Regional Council voted on a resolution to accept an invitation from Kristy McBain, Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, to apply for a $1M grant to commence the construction of a Rail Trail for a length of 3.5km from Bombala.
Representatives from both Cooma Monaro Railway and the Friends of Bombala Railway travelled to Bombala to speak to Councillors during the Public Forum and express our support for the shared use of the railway corridor and express the benefits that could be achieved for the town by supporting all three projects.
After amendments were made to the original resolution, Councillors voted to proceed with the grant application and the construction of the Rail Trail based on the option recommended in the business papers. With the amendments to the resolution, any rail that is removed will be retained for CMR to re-install before the commencement of tourist train operations. This supports the following resolution that was passed in the October 2022 meeting:
Provide a written undertaking to Cooma Monaro Railway (CMR) that Council will agree to vary any future rail trail lease between Bombala and Jincumbilly (at no cost to CMR) to enable reinstatement of the rail line (at no cost to Council) should Stage 4 funding of the CMR Operational Business Plan (Version 2.3.2 August 2022) be received, and subject to Stages 2 and 3 of that Plan (ie Cooma to Nimmitabel) having been constructed prior to this;
The other amendment to the resolution will see CMR and the Friends of Bombala be formally invited to participate in discussions with SMRC around the development of the rail corridor. This is significant, as the only people to have this level of engagement with SMRC to date regarding the use of the rail corridor have been representatives of the Rail Trail project.
We look forward to engaging further with SMRC and helping to deliver an outcome that not only supports the ambitions of all the major stakeholders in the corridor, but maximises the economic development opportunities for Bombala and the wider Monaro region.