WHILE I am sorry for the plight of the Stockton residents as their beach and community washes into the sea ('Seeing red', Newcastle Herald 24/2), I am puzzled by calls for the council and the government to "fix the problem". What is it that people expect the council and government to do to "fix" the beach?
I believe pumping sand to replenish Stockton beach will create problems elsewhere and, to point out the obvious, unless the sand is cemented in place it will also inevitably be washed away by the next king tides and storm surges. In my opinion this is not a problem which can be fixed with such expensive folly as repeated offshore dredging of sand for the ongoing nourishment of the beach.
The ocean level is rising. A look at the online government commissioned sea level rise maps show the fate of Stockton and other low-lying suburbs of Newcastle in the coming decades ('Two-metre sea level rise a risk in Newcastle's inner-city suburbs', Herald 24/5/17).
Our federal and state governments prefer to continue bolstering the fossil fuel industry and poo-pooing the risks of climate change. Such risks as rising sea levels, increased storm events, and the resulting coastal erosion and inundation.
Stockton, it's time to move. The movement should include pressure on the government to take urgent action on climate change. Therein lays what I consider the only hope for the eventual remediation of this and the multitude of other environmental problems which beset our country.
Georgina Huxtable, Hamilton East
FRIENDS TOGETHER AGAIN
DURING the 1960s and early 1970s I was involved in stage musicals and two of the regular patrons at the former Roxy Theatre in Beaumont Street, Hamilton were best friends Sheila Woodcock and June Wooden.
I recall giving June a lift home after a show one night when she was stranded in heavy rain. On another occasion, Sheila Woodcock told me that she had noticed me walking past her house in uniform and wanted to know if it was usual for me to pass her residence. I told her that I walked home that way from Newcastle police station on day shift and she said she had been having problems with young people climbing her fence and using her swimming pool when she was out.
She later thanked me because her neighbours told her that a policeman had been checking out her premises quite regularly. What a coincidence it was to see Sheila Woodcock on the front page of the Herald ('Thanks Sheila', Herald 20/2) having donated $14 million to various charities and also her long time friend June Wooden, on page three of the same issue in an article about the 160-year anniversary of St. John's Church at Cooks Hill ('Worshipping history', Herald 20/2).
Memories are made of this.
David Stuart, Merewether
WEIGH COSTS AND BENEFITS
I REFER to Carl Stevenson's letter on the closure of Holden (Letters, 21/2). Mr Stevenson asserts that wages were the issue, highlighting the billions that we, the taxpayer, have subsidised to this industry but nowhere does he highlight the benefits that this provided Australia.
As a direct result of those subsidies, for every dollar spent something like $20 was returned to our economy. This is not to mention the businesses that the car industry supported, with smaller manufacturers thriving and the skills we had that are needed in a now skilled-starved country.
Also, I believe the workers of all these car production companies are now battling to find full-time work. Over 50 per cent of former workers cannot get full time work, thus adding to our issue of underemployment that is particularly apparent in the retail economy as it continues to tank.
We now subsidise other industries: health insurance, aged care, early education and childcare are just some. I would suggest that the country does not get the benefits it used to by subsidising the car industry, as we now see our money going directly to shareholders and directors as bonuses. The money and value is not getting back into our economy.
Which one was of benefit to Australia, Mr Stevenson?
Glenn Jones, Weston
DOUBT IN CLIMATE EVIDENCE
IN reply to John Arnold (Letters, 18/2). Firstly, in my opinion there is no unambiguous scientific evidence that over the last 50 years that the global surface is "warming at a dangerously accelerated rate due to human activity".
The slight ocean warming has been apparent well before the modern era. The ice-sheets (Antarctica and Greenland) have remained relatively stable in total mass over recent decades. Snow cover (northern hemisphere) has had a slowly-increasing trend over the last 50 years. Sea level rise has been apparent for a century at about two to three millimetres per year - no issue there.
Ocean acidification? What, at a pH of eight? That's slightly alkaline. Changing seasons? Well it's still much the same spring, summer, autumn and winter for most Australians. Migrations and extinctions? Well, that's a new symptom on climate change for me. There may have been a number of new record high temperatures recorded in places, but so have new record low temperatures. I believe tropical extreme storm events have not increased over the last 50 years and may have even decreased.
Peter Devey, Merewether
DENIAL CHANGES NOTHING
PETER Dolan tosses in a straw man to try and divert from the fact that science has proven the planet is warming dangerously (in this case, dredging up one of the three per cent of climatologists who believe in warming but still question how fast it's happening).
It doesn't matter how much deniers cherry pick examples that satisfy their cognitive dissonance, the fact remains that the laws of physics don't care. Fact: 19 of the 20 warmest years in human history have all occurred since 2001. As a species we caused it, and we need to deal with it urgently or else.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
HE PLANTED MANY SEEDS
I WOULD like Brian Gilligan ('Voice of reason', Weekender 22/2) to know that his influence over the years has been wide ranging and appreciated.
As a regular teacher with an interest in the natural state of our area and the interaction of our young folk with our amazing environment, Mr Gilligan had considerable impact on me and my interaction with students through the 1980s.
He was always encouraging, and charming, to others - both young and old. There is a continuing influence: I am still writing submissions.
Leigh Allen, Hawks Nest
SHARE YOUR OPINION
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THANK you very much for the article on Sehez Group ('Debts and devastation, NewcastleHerald 22/2). It was a truly informative story on the destruction these types of collapses cause. Thanks again.
Mick Sullivan, Redhead
IF that was a trial game, then the Knights were very trying ('Trials and tribulations', Herald 24/2). It was a park run for the Dragons. So much for the pre-season hype.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
WORKERS at Holden were in my opinion betrayed by governments that gave them false hope ('End of the lion', Herald 18/2). This unsustainable propping up lasted for decades. It was motivated by political expediency. We see the government doing exactly the same to coal workers in Queensland, propping up an industry with politically based shallow promises.
John Butler, Windella
PETER Lewis (Opinion, 22/2) has captured in one frame a picture that paints more than a thousand words; to be precise, it captures$14 million. As his caption adequately illustrates, this is Sheila Woodcock's legacy to a truly grateful community ('Thanks Sheila', Herald 20/2).
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
I'VE just checked out the new "temporary" Stockton cabin park, adjacent to Stockton swimming pool ('Cafe strip', Herald 19/2). Why wouldn't Lexie's on the Beach's Nick Sovechles be afforded the same leeway and assistance if he wanted to set up, say a container cafe and courtyard? I believe council's talk about there "being no suitable nearby premises that could be leased to the cafe operator" is a joke. Why not give Mr Sovechles and his employees some hope by offering financial help and a temporary location? A plan was actioned fairly quickly in relation to moving the cabins. Too bad the plan for saving the beach wasn't.
Tony Morley, Waratah
I DON'T think anyone attending the Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival would want the racing industry shut down. Country racing is something truly Australian.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
ANOTHER Chinese buyout; this time our dairy. Where will this end?
John Bonnyman, Fern Bay
IN regard to Friday's article ('It's history: illustration degree gone', Herald 21/2) will the institution's name be changed to Newcastle McUni, with an offering to supersize courses for an extra ten grand?
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
DESPITE senior police and politicians promising to come down hard on arsonists during the bushfire crisis, it seems our judicial system failed to listen. An 18-year-old arsonist escaped incarceration this week, with a court instead imposing an intensive corrections order ('Arsonist who lit five fires avoids more jail', Herald 18/2). This person caused $200,000 worth of damage and it is a miracle that no-one was injured or killed. In my opinion this is truly a case where a tougher penalty was needed.