A BID by Pomona residents to keep its mid-town pedestrian rail crossing open is backed by Noosa Council staff who are seeking councillor approval to oppose the proposed closure.
A staff report to be presented to council on Tuesday recommends CEO Brett de Chastel write to Queensland Rail supporting the Pomona community's campaign to reverse any shut-down decision.
Locals were stirred into action after QR advised residents in May that "closure of this high-risk pedestrian crossing is the best way to eliminate safety risks”.
They took that to mean a decision to close had been made and they organised a show of force some weeks back with about 130 townsfolk rallying in protest.
That sparked QR to undertake "thorough consultation to better understand the impacts this crossing closure”.
A report to council said: "The community organisation, the 'Heart of Pomona' has expressed a strong desire since 2014 that this crossing point be retained and upgraded.
"At that time QR advised they had no plans to remove the crossing.
"Recent discussions with them revealed they have commenced investigations for the potential closure of a number of open level crossings on the regional network that have been identified as either non-compliant with respect to relevant safety standards or as compliant but with low usage.”
And that includes Pomona.
"Council staff wrote to QR in 2014 supporting the Pomona community in their wish to retain the existing crossing and have it upgraded.”
"Council at the time also advised that it did not favour an overhead crossing at this location for aesthetic and heritage reasons,” the report said.
The council report said the Pomona rail crossing was an important link for the town for the following reasons:
- It caters for 64 pedestrians/day (source: QR, 2014)
- It has been used since 1911 and forms part of the heritage walk.
- It is the safest location for horses to cross the rail line. The underpass is not safe due to horses spooking when confronted by vehicles coinciding with use.
- It provides a logical efficient link between the two sides of town.
- There is currently no safe alternate route provided.
The report said: "If QR ultimately decide to proceed with the closure of the mid-town rail crossing, they have indicated they would be willing to fund the construction of footpath linkages if council were to manage the construction.”
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