PRESIDENT: Tony Hallam.
PRESIDENT: Tony Hallam.

Long train running

THE fate of the Mary Valley Rattler will become clearer next week when its new business plan is put to a meeting of the Gympie Regional Council.

The council must vote on whether or not it is happy to become the sole shareholder of a not-for-profit company that will oversee the running of the Mary Valley Heritage Rail.

News of the new structure came in November last year when Gympie MP David Gibson, who helped broker the deal with the MVHR, said the Rattler's future had been secured by the MVHR and council's agreement "in principle" to establish a community trust as a company limited by guarantee.

Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said the company would hold all of the MVHR's assets, including the locomotives and carriages.

He said council's support would allow the new structure to be put in place, which would in turn satisfy State Government terms and pave the way for the resurrection of the iconic tourist attraction.

Without council support, the State Government will likely withdraw its offer of $2 million to rebuild at least part of the Mary Valley line.

However the new operating structure puts the roles of president Tony Hallam and manager Jim Walker into question.

Mr Hallam said while the situation was "unclear", he was "certainly still in the bag for the leadership of the Rattler".

He said he and Mr Walker had maintained leadership of the Rattler as volunteers, and had not received an income from the organisation since before January 2013.

He said he expected community volunteers would still be an "integral" part of the Rattler, even after the company received the green light.

While progress behind the scenes was on hold until the council meeting next Wednesday, things were still in action when it came to daily life at MVHR headquarters.

Mr Hallam said the MVHR would host a Valentine's Day event this Friday and regular twilight markets were continuing.

Gympie Times


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