This is a cause that’s worthy of the city’s support, and I’ll be bringing a resolution to our Planning & Environment Committee meeting on Thursday that asks that Council:
- Continues to see a future for rail in Dunedin;
- Supports the Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling campaign as a vehicle for promoting that;
- Continues to advocate for improved funding and policy settings for rail, and to explore funding and service delivery models for rail in the city where appropriate;
- Requests a report in time for Annual Plan deliberations costing a feasibility study for a commuter rail pilot using Dunedin Railways Ltd assets, in time to be of use for the Regional Public Transport Plan; and
- Explores funding options to offset the cost of this.
This is entirely consistent with our decision to explore alternative options / delivery models for the Dunedin Railways Ltd assets.
The desire for rail services in the city isn’t new, nor should it come as a surprise given our industrial engineering heritage centered around at Hillside Workshop.
Politically, Cr Jim O’Malley has been flying the flag for it in recent years. Now as Chair of Infrastructure & Networks he’s well placed to help drive this work should it be supported by our colleagues.
It’s then up to all of us to advocate for policy and funding settings by central government (and its agencies) that don’t ignore the southern end of the country.