I NOTE cycling groups are saying that cycling on Hunter Street is not safe with the addition of the light rail so encourage riders to ride there but "take the lane" (‘Off the rails’, Newcastle Herald, 16/11).
In industry, when something is unsafe we are told not to do it. If it isn't safe, don't do it. Nothing is so important that it can't be done safely, yet it appears to me that cycling advocates seem to take the attitude of, "we know it's not safe, but do it anyway".
The easy fix, of course, is to make the footpaths a shared zone even if they need to include a speed limit, but in my opinion we see this poor attitude to safety too often from cyclists. There are many, many roads that are safe for cycling but there are also many that aren't. There seems to be no thought for safety when cyclists decide which roads to take on their ride.
NEWCASTLE City Council's chief executive Jeremy Bath apparently believes the logical complaints of cycling advocates are just from a handful of people hoping for the work of Revitalising Newcastle to fail (‘Cycle safety fears on new Hunter Street’, Herald, 15/11). I believe that it is a very worrying attitude. In my opinion, it shows councils lack of understanding of planning approaches that cater for multiple forms of transport, the ones that have made European cites like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Budapest, Malmo and Prague so attractive and successful.
TO Donna Page and Nick Bielby, thank you for your most interesting series of articles regarding Truegain in the Newcastle Herald (‘Done dirt cheap’, Herald 14/11).
Not only were Truegain apparently polluting the ground and waterways, they were also emitting the most acrid odours over many years.
Whatever was being incinerated caused the most dreadful smell over the surrounding areas. There was a lot of local concern.
The first time I noticed the dreadful odour I tracked it down to the Truegain site. There was no company name anywhere on the property but it was quite clear to me where the odour came from. In the early days there were no other chemical plants in the local area. I contacted the EPA many times and each time I was told they were still trying to locate the source of the odour. This involved plotting the source of complaints and using the wind direction and speed to locate the source. I told them there was no need to use science because my nose could confirm the exact location of the source.
It always seemed to me the EPA was so disinterested in controlling Truegain that there must have been some higher authority overriding them. The first time I became aware of the odour was on a weekend, and I believe that burning waste on a weekend would potentially make it easier to avoid detection. It should never have taken so many years to close down a business that was quite clearly operating contrary to all environmental rules. The EPA should be required to explain why it the operations at Truegain to continue polluting for so many years without any action being taken.
THE news that the much-loved Tower Cinemas is to close on December 5 (‘City loses a ‘cultural icon’’,” Herald, 13/11) is very disappointing, both for film-goers and the city of Newcastle. The Tower has offered quality programs to the public for decades. It has also provided the venue for the Newcastle Film Society, the Italian and travelling film festivals and other special cinema events. The Tower has been a cultural focus to bring people into the city to experience the best of world film entertainment and nothing can compare with sharing a full screen experience with an enthusiastic and responsive audience.
In an area where there were once seven cinemas (The Strand, Lyrique, Tatler, Kensington, Civic, Victoria and Royal) only the Tower remained as a film venue. The Regal at Birmingham Gardens demonstrated that a well-run cinema is still viable.
Has consideration been given to converting one of the Tower’s three cinemas into a live venue for plays, concerts or special events? The dedication of the long-serving staff at the Tower has always been notable and the status of the Tower as a place to go in Newcastle is very well-established. We should not let this remaining Newcastle cultural venue disappear forever.
I BELIEVE I speak for the hundreds of bridge players in the Hunter when I say that we are delighted that the Newcastle Herald is not bound by the findings of such esteemed institutions such as the British High Court, The European Court of Justice or The British Tax Authority (Letters, 8/11).
To any reader who thinks such findings should guide the Newcastle Herald, I suggest going along to one of the many excellent bridge clubs in the Hunter and try their skills with the game that is played by 220 million people worldwide.
Those of us who play have discovered that bridge is social, bridge is a game for all ages, bridge is a mental workout unlike any other, bridge has known health benefits and is believed to boost the immune system, bridge is exciting and fun, bridge is a great leveller, it doesn't matter what you did or are doing for a living, no one cares and bridge is great value for money. Bridge is an amusement, a diversion, a pastime and in my world easily qualifies as a sport.
NO matter what media you use to access the news (I use the Newcastle Herald) there appears to be an abundance of allegations referring to sexual assault arising in both state and federal Parliaments (‘Hunter MPs slam former Labor leader’, Herald, 10/11).
This is a terrible state of affairs as, overseas, Australia must be seen as a nation of gropers. Parliamentarians are supposed to represent all Australians, at the going rate they won’t and they don't. What happened to respect? Surely it has not drifted out of fashion, or have positions of power been deemed by some to be unaccountable?
All too often the victims of these deplorable acts see the perpetrators as too powerful to accuse. I would say to the victims of these abusers of power “Have courage, take a stand, you did not deserve to be treated like that”. In fact, no victim of any institutional abuse of power should feel they are not worthy of justice.
THE pen goes to Neil Pitt, of Carrington, for his letter about the blood bank.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
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