For the past five years Belmont Wetlands State Park Management (BWSP) has largely ignored beach camping on Redhead beach, despite the park's legally binding management plan prohibiting it. Historically, more than 500 vehicles have been counted camping on the beach - each vehicle can hold up to seven passengers. No toilets were provided in the park until December 2021.
There have been 50,000 annual permits for sale this year at $88 each, allowing each user unlimited access to the beach and potentially free camping for a year. If each user visited the park just three times a year this equates to 325 vehicles on the beach every single day.
The isolated location, 24-hour access and no rangers after 5pm has seen the area become a haven for antisocial behaviour as evidenced by the beach party which caused Newcastle's August 2021 COVID lockdown.
The result has been an overcrowded and poorly regulated 4WD park, a sewage-contaminated lagoon, in addition to a damaged and de-vegetated dune system.
Recently BWSP have announced a community consultation process for a 'new' plan of management to assess expanded 4WD access and beach camping. The consultation period, via online survey on the BWSP website, ends February 28.
BWSP can continue to be "loved to death" or be preserved and maintained for community appreciation and engagement into the future. This is an opportunity for the community to have their say. Have your say here: https://www.belmontwetlands.com.au/communityconsultation.html
THE artist's impression of the new health services building GPV Property has proposed for the corner of Victoria and Date streets in Adamstown, ('Plan for new health centre', Herald, 21/1) is not accurate.
Absolutely no cars can park on both sides of the road in Victoria or Date streets as it is not wide enough, which was clearly demonstrated when the site was used as a COVID testing centre. The same amount of traffic movements will be visiting the proposed health centre, and again the Adamstown village will become completely gridlocked.
Will City of Newcastle be directing traffic when the Adamstown gates are down and the Brunker Road traffic lights congest traffic daily? I think not.
While the health centre could be a welcomed addition to Adamstown, I believe the proposed development is clearly an over-development of the site and no consideration has been given to all the other developments in the area.
A full traffic assessment will need to be completed but, in my opinion, like all the assessments that have come to council before, this assessment will always tick all the boxes towards development.
I FIND the recent attack on Grace Tame horrifying. She was chosen as Australian of the Year because of her outspoken activism for survivors of sexual abuse. This is a reward for being outspoken on this issue.
And a key part of our democracy is speaking out - regardless of your standing in our free society.
Even the Prime Minister has no right to deny freedom of speech.
And you can criticise the Prime Minister respectfully. It is a pretty weak leader that cannot stand a bit of criticism - and there's no suggestion by me that he cannot. But when Grace doesn't passively stand next to the Liberal leader as a pretty ornament she is attacked - I presume - by Liberal party or Scott Morrison supporters.
The Conservative side of politics always champions freedom of speech. The Conservatives have also been criticised as having a problem with strong women in Parliament, and their handling of sexual abuse.
What this latest episode highlights is that there are still some people who support the Conservative side of politics that are disproportionately sensitive to subjects in their party that require a lot more improvement, but instead of dealing with the issues, they are looking to criticise, gag and denigrate this strong lady.
They are following the perceived Conservative narrative that strong women should not be allowed to be outspoken. They want to gag and denigrate Grace Tame. What are they afraid of? The truth?
I AM interested in Anthony Albanese's pledge of $500 million for a study into a VFT between Sydney and Newcastle. Many comments have already been offered on this page. I think Mr Albanese's motives are admirable but I don't think a fast train between these two cities is viable.
The train would certainly not be able to come into Newcastle Interchange. The station for Newcastle would need to be west of Fassifern (or elsewhere) and a dedicated commuter train would have to carry passengers from the VFT station into Newcastle. This train would need to have provisions for luggage and porters to transfer this luggage.
The main purpose of a VFT between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane is to compete with the airlines. If the VFT could travel from (say) Flinders Street Station in Melbourne to Central in Sydney then Roma Street in Brisbane, then it could compete favourably with the airlines. It would carry passengers into the centre of the three cities, where the airport-to-city commute adds to the travel times.
I wish Mr Albanese well but I think the $500 million would better be spent ironing out many of the tortuous curves and hills in the existing line between Newcastle and Sydney.
AUSTRALIA'S rainfall of 912.6mm in 2021 was the most since 2010 or 46 per cent above average.
Unfortunately a large percentage of this rainfall was wasted due to the limited capacity of our dams.
As the government isn't prepared to address the limited capacity of our dams and an ever-increasing population resulting in increased usage, perhaps hot water recirculating pumps or instantaneous hot water heaters at point of use should be adopted in new home builds.
To see litres of cold water running down the drain when waiting for hot water while showering is nothing short of criminal.
I AGREE with Peter C. Jones' letter, ('Labor values a point of difference', Letters, 20/1), but then he pushes the old furphy that Labor is run by and for unions. and blames them for the change.
In this he contradicts himself. It's the unions who are responsible for many of the things he praises - policies adopted and implemented by Labor because they were fair and proper.
True, unions have influence on Labor but big business and big money have influence over the Liberal Party. Unions protect the little person and have ensured the wealth of this country is used on things like Medicare not another yacht or holiday house.
TO Don Fraser, maybe Grace Tame should have slapped the PM on the back and said "thanks for nothing", because that's what help brutalised women received as the stats in that area went up in her year of tenure, or maybe you think that was her fault as well.
SPOT on Don Fraser (Short Takes, 27/1) regarding Grace Tame and her childish show of disrespect towards Scott Morrison. Surely I don't think she did herself any favours with most people and just hope she reflects on her lack of common courtesy to the Prime Minister of Australia, whether she likes him or not. He did not deserve to be treated with such rudeness, but at least he was polite and showed her respect by not stooping down to her level.
TO all those who disapprove of Grace Tame's reaction to Scott Morrison, I quote this from the satire website The Betoota Advocate 'Woman faces backlash for not pretending everything is OK'. Grace Tame has done a wonderful job raising the profile of such a serious issue.
IT is great news that Lake Macquarie council is finally replacing the old, decrepit timber bridge at Awaba. It is a vital link between the Rathmines/Wangi area and the freeway and railway line. Perhaps the council could also look at removing the old railway viaduct at Fassifern, which has remained even though the rail line to Toronto has been closed for 30 years.
OVER a century ago, a journalist was quoted: "To witness the best examples of poor sportsmanship, observe the barracker". Watching a recent mens' doubles match between Kyrgios and Kokkinakis against Putz and Venus at the Australian Open, the behaviour of many spectators made it apparent that nothing much has changed in that regard.
I HAVE recently received alerts from the Service NSW app when I have been in stores at the same time as someone who has tested positive to COVID. What irks me is the three or four people who walk into the store before me without signing in or using the app. Most stores no longer have anyone checking to make sure the mandatory checking in is done. We are now relying only upon the people who are obeying the law.
SHANE Tull asks on what basis should refugees be allowed to stay? (Short Takes, 24/1) Being locked up in detention centres year after year by a big tough conservative government flexing its muscles shows it is all about power and politics. These people are not criminals, they want nothing more than a new start in a peaceful country.
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