It's outrageous: Friends of Felton on Inland Rail route
FRIENDS of Felton has described a proposal to send the Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail project through the Felton area as "outrageous".
President Rob McCreath said the route, proposed by a recently published report, would threaten the future of the Felton Food Festival and cause serious harm to the food-bowl valley.
After nominating its preferred route in 2014 - through Millmerran to Toowoomba - the Australian Rail Track Corporation has recently been instructed by the Federal transport minister to look again at other options, including the "Karara route" through Felton.
"We are appealing for public support for our campaign to stop this plan in its tracks. The coal at Felton must stay in the ground; the Inland Rail should stick to the route selected in 2014", Mr McCreath said.
The group recently claimed victory in their battle against a coal mine proposed Ambre Energy at Felton.
Mr McCreath said it was concerning the report, published by the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, highlighted the "proximity to the Felton coal deposits" as supportive evidence for the Karara route.
He said the future of the region lay in tourism and agriculture.
"We're absolutely adamant it (coal) must stay in the ground," he said.
Mr McCreath did not nominate a preferred route, saying it was "up to the engineers" to decide.
The route has become a political hot potato recently.
Then in August farmers in Millmerran expressed concerns about damage to their land and a lack of consultation.
Political leaders including Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki and Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio in September called for ARTC to "get on with it", and for the project to start as soon as possible.
Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss also weighed in, suggesting the end destination of the project be changed from Brisbane to Gladstone.
The Chronicle has been told ongoing speculation may endanger the $10 billion project, particularly since the route from Toowoomba to Brisbane is by far the most expensive component.