Town protest has QR on right path with a station upgrade
POMONA railway foot crossing is back on track as Queensland Rail listened to the town protests and prepares to build a safer, realigned walkway built as part of a reconstructed railway station.
And Brian O'Connor of Don't Divide Pomona could not be happier with an outcome won by people power.
Mr O'Connor said the townsfolk took to the streets to march in protest at the potential loss of their connecting path over the railway tracks, but from next year the people of Pomona will stride with pride along a vital link in the heart of Pomona.
"This is a game-changer for Pomona,” he said.
"The railway land has great potential to be re-purposed as a community asset, but retention of the path over the railway tracks was absolutely essential for the further possibilities to be explored and realised.”
More than 1700 people signed a petition objecting to the closure of the path that has served Pomona for more than 100 years, without incident.
"The community was unwavering in its resolve. That united opposition left QR with little manoeuvrability, despite trying to split us and throw money at Noosa Council to build a footpath along the railway side of Factory Street,” Mr O'Connor said.
Mr O'Connor said a new pathway across the railway land had the potential to be extended via a pedestrian crossing of Factory Street and a drainage easement that could be converted to a walkway linking directly into Cooroora Creek Park.
"We have yet to convince Noosa Council that this east-west active transport spine is key to the town's improved connectivity and walkability,” he said.
QR finally revealed its plans for the new Pomona railway station and cross-tracks path during a public consultation session held last Saturday. Work will start by the end of the year, but the bulk of construction will occur in the first six months of 2019.
It showed the new alignment for the pathway across the tracks as running between the North Coast Law office in Station Street and a small park, directing pedestrians closer to the retail centre of town.
The old access, between the law office and Landcare building will be fenced off once the new station is operational, about mid-2019.
"The new concrete path will be extended all the way to Station Street on the town side, it will be lit at night, landscaped and fenced for safety,” Mr O'Connor said.
"There will be no electronic gates. Rather, two right-angle kinks in the path will force users to look left and right before they cross the tracks.”
Horns and flashing lights would enhance safety and the Factory Street entrance to a revamped railway station would be defined by a row of Tulipwood trees - chosen from a suite of planting suggestions from Don't Divide Pomona.