FOR some 20 years I have witnessed much debate about saving Nelson Bay. Numerous councillors over that period have grappled with this dilemma. The end result of it has been that nothing has changed, nothing has happened, and I suspect, nothing will.
Meanwhile the Salamander Central land owned by council has seen significant development, including the shopping centre extended and upgraded. The council has introduced new service stations, a medical centre and the Connected Learning Centre. There is easy access parking, a bus interchange and on Salamander Way fire and ambulance stations. the council is also seeking to build a new ALDI store.
The marina precinct, a primary attractor to tourists, offers restaurants, bars, marina views and easy parking. Professionally owned and managed, I believe it will continue to attract the tourist market with very little benefit to the CBD.
So what has gone wrong? Everything. Bad planning, business decisions and lack of understanding of council, councillors, residents and businesses over decades, not just a few years. In my opinion, on top of council's massive conflict of interest, there is no sense of direction.
The CBD grew ad hoc from a small fishing village and has been left behind. Who gives a hoot about height limits?
If these apartment blocks ever get built at least a worn out tired, jumble of old buildings may give some people housing and holiday apartments with easier access to the marina precinct for a night out.
Robert Young, Soldiers Point
Pub is the test for wording change
I BELIEVE City of Newcastle council is kidding itself ('City wipes $101m bill', Newcastle Herald 24/10). Just changing the wording from "poor" to "satisfactory and fit for purpose" doesn't cut it or make things any better in the Waratah and Mayfield area.
I would suggest that the cynical person in me would say that a poor road in, say Merewether, would become satisfactory and fit for purpose the further you move out of town. Case in point: King Street, Waratah West; it has become a pothole ridden goat track and needs to be resurfaced, but by the looks of the picture with the story in the Herald on Saturday, it looks like the priorities are closer to town and the foreshore. I'm just not sure this writing down of spending passes the Newy pub test.
Tony Morley, Waratah
We're not travelling as expected
In the rushed changes and legislation imposed on the population to protect the us against COVID-19, the basically ideology of Governments at the time seems to have been that in six to 12 months there will be a vaccine available and everything will return to normal. However, it has now been nine months and I think it's looking more likely that the 'normal' as we knew it may be much further away, if at all.
There also remains questions. Has COVID-19 developed variations/mutations in the millions infected? Are we going to be left in a situation where scientists will be making catch-up vaccines as mutations impact us? How effective and how long does a vaccine last? Given that it is reasonable to suggest the initial assumptions on which legislation was introduced may have been ambitious if not wrong, isn't it now the responsibility of our governments to sit down and re-evaluate those laws in the interest of the nation? Isn't it time to focus on building the new normal for our world - living beside COVID-19?
As a starting point, there are many examples of people of this country who need international travel, and many Australians who wish/need to return home. Shouldn't our governments look to reopen our international borders on a much larger scale? The two weeks of mandatory isolation seems to work, so should governments start work on reintroducing quarantine stations to become a normal part of international travel, or to have on standby should mutations start re-emerging?
Greg Adamson, Griffith
Hyperbole on climate helps none
GREG Hunt (Short Takes, 24/10) is correct when he writes that science does not always get it right. He cites predictions made in 2005/06 that there would be no more rain and that sea levels would rise by 25 metres within ten years. These predictions were not science; they were just flights of fancy. There are extremists on both sides of the climate change argument. You can recognise science by it being carried out using a well defined process and by the results being published in respected scientific journals after exhaustive peer review. Flights of fancy do not meet these criteria. As far as I can tell from my reading the predictions of genuine climate scientists have been reasonably good, though not of course perfect.
Ian Roach, New Lambton
Free will at heart of the debates
TONY Brown (Letters, 20/10) it is not often that I ever agreed with you on anything at all, but to a certain degree I have always agreed with you in regards to the nature of gambling.
I believe poker machines especially are set up to seem seductive, and often end up becoming little more than steel traps for dumb animals. All the alleged allure aside, however, one of the biggest issues here I feel is that of free will, which seems to be one of the issues you missed, and one of the many issues I believe that you overlook when it comes to your crusade against alcohol.
I have gambled before and I have drunk before, but no one has ever put a gun to my head and forced me to do either. The venues where I took part in these activities were not to blame, as the decisions I made were entirely mine. Adults should always be allowed to make adult decisions about whether they wish to indulge in such perfectly legal activities or not. Otherwise, where do we draw the line? Do we ban McDonald's and KFC simply because some people eat too much of it?
Adz Carter, Newcastle
Sources you can trust
LAST week Dave McTaggart (Short Takes, 23/10) was asking another contributor for any studies into indigenous or 'traditional' fire practices. A good recent book on this subject would be Victor Steffensen's Fire Country.
The previous week (Short Takes, 15/10), Mr McTaggart was also wondering if Aboriginal "indigenous environmental practices" would be comparable to those he would be familiar with from certain Papua New Guinea natives, (the short answer would be no due to wide differences in climate, topography, geology, and local culture - even within Australia there are differences across different communities and locales). A good reference here would be Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu. Both these are well written books, with references to reputable sources, and acknowledging their sources and helpers.
Whether or not people like what is written, it is still good source material, unlike some of the unsourced and anonymous trash talk and propaganda that some are posting up these days.
David Laurie, Glendale
PAT Garnet (Letters, 26/10), I'm sure you would be aware that many of the claims made by Mr Pascoe have been disputed. The life I've lived has taught me great respect for indigenous cultures, but I refuse to look at them through rose coloured glasses. You are correct to say there is no comparison with Papua New Guinean lifestyle. They have no welfare nor any of the other free services many of us Aussies take for granted.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
I'M not crying wolf when I condemn the attitude and manner in which my brother and father were spoken to by one of the owners of a Hunter cafe on a lazy, rainy Sunday recently when our breakfast order was misunderstood. Dad owned up to the mistake, but her attitude was shocking considering the hospitality industry is trying to find its feet again post COVID. I hope her other half is a more pleasant person.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
WE started tennis lessons with Richard Nicholls at Adamstown and then District Park ('Coach 'devastated' at losing tennis centre', Herald 27/10). He and his staff were wonderful and professional. His holiday camps were first class and all the kids enjoyed them immensely. To do this to a long serving tenant is disgraceful. All the best in the future and I'm sure you will find another place to continue your wonderful coaching.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
I WONDER if the methods used to balance COVID-19 deaths against the economy could be used to reduce road deaths.
George Paris, Rathmines
PETER Devey and Steve Barnett (Short Takes, 23/10): Australian Council of Social Service figures show that one Australian child in every seven comes from a poverty-stricken home. New Zealand's figures show 13 per cent of the population live in poverty. Australia's percentage is similar. We have about a million people unemployed and the level of homelessness and affordable housing is totally unacceptable. Government action is urgently needed.
George Garnsey, Morpeth
NO, Michael Hinchey (Letters, 24/10), the same latitude would not be extended if Gladys Berejiklian were a single man. But I disagree about the "unhinged hysteria" if she were a Labor premier. I suspect the sisterhood then would be even more protective of her. I believe the double standards are more about gender than political affiliation. As Barnaby Joyce said recently, he was given no leave pass on his personal life in the wake of his affair with a staffer, and he also had to resign as deputy PM.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
DOES the HSC represent too great a pressure for high school students?