Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Casino to Bentley section
This project is being made possible by funding from the Australian Government.
Richmond Valley Council is in the preparatory stages of delivering a recreational trail along a section of the disused Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor, from Old Casino Station in Casino, to Back Creek Bridge at Bentley.
The Australian Government has committed $7.5 million toward the project under the National Tourism Icons Program.
This 13.5km section encompasses all of the rail corridor that sits within Richmond Valley local government area.
Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Casino to Murwillumbah
Council is also an active supporter of the proposed 132km rail trail running the full length of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor.
When completed, this project will create a world-class tourism experience allowing visitors to weave their way through some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in Australia, and is modelled to substantially increased visitation to all parts of the four local government areas within its domain. In addition, it will deliver an excellent recreational facility and commuter option for local residents.
In May 2013, the not-for-profit community group, Northern Rivers Rail Trail Association Inc, was formed by local philanthropists known as the Sourdough Group, community volunteers, local government councillors and staff, and leaders of the tourist industry. The group came together with a common vision to preserve this very valuable community asset, the 132km of disused rail corridor between Casino and Murwillumbah and converting it to a modern cycle and walking trail through the region’s spectacular landscapes.
Since then, momentum towards this vision grown steadily.
2018 – Funding for Tweed Shire Council
In 2018, Tweed Shire Council secured the funding required to design and construct a 24km section of trail at the northern end of the corridor. Tweed Shire received $6.5 million each from the Australian and NSW governments with construction of its trail set to start in 2020.
At the same time Richmond Valley Council joined with Lismore City Council to help fund a business case for the Casino to Eltham section, a 45km stretch of trail that will wind through some of the most scenic pastoral locations in the country.
2019 – Funding for Richmond Valley Council
Following the release of the business case, the Australian Government committed $7.5 million to build the first section from Casino to Bentley, which runs for 13km. This funding was secured from the Australian Government’s National Tourism Icons Progam.
Pictured below: Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan (second from left) announcing $7.5 million to build the Casino to Bentley rail trail section.
Council’s Project Management Office is now in the concept design stage of the Casino to Bentley section and is also collaborating with neighbouring councils and the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Group to realise the full potential of the project from Casino to Murwillumbah.
The rail trail will be for the local community to use for getting to school, work and sport, shopping and recreation and by visitors seeking either a new way to experience the region’s scenery, food and culture or a more adventurous experience.
The other huge benefit of a rail trail for any community is the opportunity for healthy activity and exercise.
December 2020 – Adoption of final master plan for project
Council adopted the final master plan for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Casino to Bentley at its December 2020 ordinary meeting.
The completion of the master plan, which was placed on public exhibition in October 2020, was an early milestone for the project.
Strong interest in the plan was registered by the community, with 72 written submissions received during the exhibition period, and further feedback given at stakeholder workshops. All relevant information was been considered in the final master plan.
Further consultation is planned with relevant stakeholders as Council works towards a concept design.
Council has also released the following information sheets about the project:
September 2019 information sheet: Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Casino to Bentley
May 2020 information sheet: Landholder Update – May 2020