IT'S only February and already some Anzac Day ceremonies around Australia are being cancelled. Last year we stood in our driveways under torchlight because of COVID restrictions, it wasn't a bad thing, it made a lot more people realise how important this date is to Australians. Why is it that any important milestone in our history is pushed to one side yet people can still attend protest marches or sporting events? Let those who put their lives on the line and those who appreciate their sacrifices match and meet up. Please don't discount our history or those who fought and died for us. Surely you can miss a footy game or protest to respect these wonderful souls.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Sing from the same hymn sheet
THANK you Ken Longworth, for the excellent 2021 Season Entertainment Guide (Newcastle Herald, 10/2). There are many wonderful entertainment opportunities, but one very important activity is missing: choral performances.
For some unknown reason, choirs are not allowed to rehearse. This limitation is still in place despite no COVID-19 cases in Newcastle or the Hunter region for many months. Footy fans are allowed to gather in stadiums and yell and scream to their heart's content. No COVID-19 limitations there. Pubs and clubs can pack in audiences to see bands. The attendees can cheer and shout as much as they want. No COVID limitations there, either.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
- Play for union's Shute Shield a divisive one
- PM's visit should have included PFAS fighters
- Residents deserved chance to get on board surf comp
- Queen's achievements truly take the crown
- Heroic Captain Tom Moore never let us walk alone during COVID-19
- Newcastle's builders must learn as they go
- Keep our city clean so visitors stay keen
- Concerns about voluntary assisted dying
So why are the choirs not allowed to rehearse and perform? Proper singing technique limits air release from the mouth, much better control than screaming at a sporting event. I have to assume that whoever put the choir limitations in place has no real knowledge of choirs and singing. This limitation is unnecessary, ridiculous and shows extreme bias. It must be removed immediately.
Howard Bridgman, Jesmond
Strata rules are flat out flawed
STRATA laws are woefully inadequate to protect people buying into these schemes. Members can fall behind in their levies, refuse to comply with bylaws, vote down annual pest inspections, 10-year maintenance plans, adequate sinking funds and occupational health and safety requirements.
There is no audit of these schemes by a regulator, and the only recourse is to take the scheme to court which, if the scheme has no money, could leave you with all the costs. With so many people now investing huge amounts of money into units they need better protection. We have been so shocked by the state of some Strata schemes as we search for a new home that we have decided to avoid them all together and warn others to have their wits about them.
Yes, you can go ahead and get on the Strata committee and then be prepared to fight for what should happen but this is a very stressful process where I believe bullying and threats are not unusual and life can become a nightmare.
Sarah Taylor, Merewether
Heavy lies the cartoon crown
MY sister in Melbourne assures me that the Andrews Labor government receives plenty of attention by the cartoonists in The Age newspaper, which Greg Hunt (Short Takes, 12/2) would no doubt describe as left-leaning. To me, this confirms the point that seems to escape Mr Hunt and others who whinge about alleged bias by the Herald cartoonists: the government of the day will be the target more often because they make the decisions (or in the case of our prime minister, usually just the announcements) and receive more media attention. And our current conservative federal and NSW state governments certainly provide plenty of material with their persistent scandals, gaffes and intrigues.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
Hospital deserves a health link
CONGRATULATIONS to Lake Macquarie City Council for its excellent Walking Cycling and Better Street Strategy, a practical response to our car dependency, climate change and child obesity ('Time park technology', Herald 10/2). It re-imagines residential precincts as shared spaces rather than repositories for parked cars and caravans, and with lowered 30km/h speed limits. The Richmond Vale Rail Trail connected to the Fernleigh Track via Charlestown would be a game changer.
Health workers at John Hunter also deserve a safe shared path ('Gridlock: Hospital snarls remain', Newcastle Herald 10/2). Battery technology trumps hilly topography as a disincentive to cycling; separation from cars is the issue. Councillor Barney Langford apparently wants my rates to keep subsidising free parking thus making driving to Charlestown more attractive. Councillor Baker opposes reduction of speed limits in residential spaces. Gentlemen, please be part of the solution or get out of the way.
Phillip Buckner, Dudley
Dam it? It's not our best option
UNFORTUNATELY Bruce Kershaw (Short Takes, 11/2) doesn't seem to realise that dams are not the best option to secure the region's water supplies, particularly during drought. It is obvious from the recent past experience that dams are unable to maintain a reliable supply of water during drought, resulting in the need for water restrictions.
We had a relative short drought and water restrictions in the Lower Hunter when rainfall was reduced by about half in our catchments during 2019. This short drought saw our water storages plummet from 87 to 52 per cent in 15 months due to low storage inflows, water quality problems and high evaporation rates. Hunter Water storages lose approximately as much water to evaporation and leakage each year as is supplied to its customers. What a wasteful and inefficient supply system, particularly when there is a shortage of water.
The reliance on dams will become a much bigger threat to our water security as droughts are predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and water experts to become more frequent, severe and prolonged. Climate-independent sources are the only option to provide a reliable supply for our growing water requirements now and into the future, not dams.
Ken Edwards, Clarence Town
First thing they see is Swansea
I READ with interest that the Lake Macquarie Council is throwing yet more money at Speers Point Park with the multi arts pavilion and cafe under the guise of a tourist attraction ('Art of the meal for pavilion', Herald 11/2). Living in Swansea, which is the gateway to Lake Macquarie and its tourism attractions, you have to wonder why our council does not invest funds into an area that provides a visitor with their first impressions of our beautiful city.
The dog track that is Lake Road leads to Swansea Caravan Park and one of our premier boat ramps is just one example of the crumbling infrastructure in the area. Come on council; let's spread the love to all the areas in your electorate.
Steve Faber, Swansea
"WE'RE not worried, well I'm certainly not worried about what might happen in 30 years' time." As a philosophy for a happy life, Deputy PM Michael McCormack's recent statement would have much to recommend it. Unfortunately, it instead seems a description of his party's attitude to climate change. In a principled and accountable government I believe such a statement would be quickly disowned. But in Scott Morrison's government, it passes with nothing more than a smug smirk. Time to admit we now have our very own Trumpist government?
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
AT the moment it's hard to keep the weeds and lawn under control. Perhaps it's global warming or catastrophic clover curse. The point is, whatever is causing the green stuff to grow faster than a Griffith tomato crop, the council workers should not be held responsible for Amazon-like nature strips. They surely have enough to deal with attending equality and inclusion classes as well as non-gender biased insect control techniques. So give the poor old council workers a break if leaving your house is harder than negotiating the Kokoda Track or your workplace agreement.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
SO here we find Albo strolling in Queensland with Kevin Rudd trying to look like Barnaby Joyce with a similar hat, and complaining about the climate in 2050. Don't worry about it, Albo, you and ScoMo will be long gone by then, and wind and solar are never going to be ample to power Australian needs. The obvious answer is nuclear power (wash my mouth out), but nobody wants to talk about that. There are over 400 plants in the world all working effectively, but the Greens would never agree to that in Australia.
Don Fraser, Belmont
MICHAEL Jameson (Letters, 10/2) did say there is abundant evidence palliative care is ineffective (Letters, 4/2). True, I didn't clarify that he meant in many, not all, cases, but Mr Jameson is stretching a point to say I misrepresented him as meaning in all cases, as claiming he said that palliative care "simply doesn't work". My intention was to contrast Mr Jameson's unspecified "abundant evidence" that palliative care is ineffective with the extensive, publicly available evidence base that it is effective. For me, Mr Jameson's emphasis on palliative care's ineffectiveness helps perpetuate rather than dispel what Palliative Care Australia calls the myth that pain is an inevitable part of dying.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
CR Kevin Baker is obviously correct in his comment about the parking problems in Charlestown and they are going to get worse. And while Cr Langford's hope that we don't have to pay for parking may seem beneficial to car users. The reality is that someone has to pay for the cost of the car park and it should be the users. Perhaps a better strategy would be to build more cycle ways as many cities in Europe have done with great success. Just for starters there is a plan for a cycleway that would connect Charlestown to Whitebridge and Dudley mostly off road, but it's been stalled for the last two decades.