OUTDOOR FUN: Walkers out using the rail trail from Wondai and Crawford. Picture: Jessica McGrath
OUTDOOR FUN: Walkers out using the rail trail from Wondai and Crawford. Picture: Jessica McGrath

Fiery council debate over building second rail trail

THE likelihood of a rail trail being built from Murgon to Proston in the near future is looking remote after fiery discussions between councillors.

Last year the Department of Transport and Main Roads ­approved a grant of $48,000 to undertake a study on the construction of a rail trail on the old section of the railway from Murgon to Proston.

Mayor Keith Campbell said South Burnett Regional Council did not receive the report until its January meeting, on Wednesday.

"This study was not initiated by the council," Cr Campbell said.

"We were the only body who could apply for the funding, and the reason SBRC put in the funding application in the first place was following a meeting in Proston going back some months ago now, that was called Coverty Community Group.

"The council would not be putting it on its capitals works program and I have been told the public community group are no longer existent, they have actually imploded.

"There may be other community groups who want to take it up, but we are only receiving it (the report) right now."

Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff said the project was still on the table for her.

"The businesses in Proston were very keen to get something like this in the town," she said.

"A lot of farmers were even against the study, but as it was fully funded it seemed logical.

"Now it says the Proston to Hivesville section would cost $2.014 million to build and if forces were committed it would attract an extra 500 visitors and would inject $480,080 a year into the local economy."

Cr Roz Frohloff disagreed with Cr Duff and said agriculture should be the top priority.

"When this first came to the table I took the farmers' side," Cr Frohloff said.

"We are supposed to be looking after the rural people, but this rail trail would be right through people's backyards.

"I still support the farmers and I don't think it's a goer at all."

"We have a rail trail now that we have to try to look after without doing another one," she said.

Councillor Terry Fleischfresser said he had also been against the plan from the beginning.