MINE MEETING: Bike club slams rail line proposal
JASON Wyeth approached the front of the coal rail line public meeting to ask a question.
"What gives more to the community, a rail line or a rail trail?" he asked the room of about 200 South Burnett residents.
The South Burnett Mountain Bike Club secretary was the first of many from the Wondai community to voice their concerns about Moreton Resources' proposed coal rail line.
The rail line would transport coal from the proposed Kingaroy coal mine and would have three rail crossings between Murgon and Kingaroy, including one near the Wondai town centre.
Mr Wyeth continued to list off businesses and organisations which gave to the South Burnett community, such as Swickers and the rail trail, as the crowd murmured in agreement.
He said the Kilkivan to Kingaroy rail trail was visited by more than 8000 bike riders per year, many of whom spend money in the communities along the way.
Mr Wyeth estimated the rail line would need at least 3.4 trains per day one way to carry the required amount of coal.
Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group spokesman John Dalton said the rail line would impact businesses and residents in regards to the rail crossings, coal dust pollutions and noise.
Mr Dalton urged the community to consider how they might be impacted by the mine and rail line.
"Anyone can feel like they're adding to the weight of public opinion," Mr Dalton said.
Moreton Resources is due to release an environmental impact statement in April or May and the community will only have 30 days to read the document.
The residents in the room mouthed "wow" as Mr Dalton explained the document would be more than 4000 pages long.
KCCG is seeking volunteers with professional experience, such as engineers, chemists or environmental experts with knowledge to help understand the data in the statement.
The community group is also requesting donations to fund consultations with various experts to gain an accurate understanding of the statement when it is released.
Residents queued to share their views regarding the rail line and coal mine to the room.
The biggest concern of some was the environmental impact, whilst others saw no reason to disrupt the area's most precious resource of agriculture.
Wondai Regional Art Gallery president Elaine Maddill said the community had already fought for the rail trail and won it.
"It's part of a big advantage to tourism in the region," Ms Maddill said.
One Kingaroy resident explained the positives a coal mine and rail line would bring to the area if environmental control was achieved.
He said Gladstone residents had lived with a coal rail line and prospered and the mine could be a solution to Kingaroy's unemployment struggles.
The cost to locals for the proposed mine and rail line remains unknown, as the community ponders their response to the upcoming EIS.