Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, October 20, 2016

IMPACT: Residents who own property on the proposed Supercars loop in Newcastle are concerned about additional costs of the race due to insurance and security needs.

IMPACT: Residents who own property on the proposed Supercars loop in Newcastle are concerned about additional costs of the race due to insurance and security needs.

SINCE the announcement of the Supercars race our strata has looked into the issues that the race will present for strata units lining the track.

Fortunately, we have had the benefit of talking with a professional strata manager with years of experience on the Gold Coast, going back to the early days of their race. Our research shows that East End strata units should start to think about the costs that this race will leave them holding.

First among the costs is the need to ensure that owners can claim any damages to their building, resulting from the races. To ensure claims are accepted by insurers, our adviser said properties he managed had commissioned “dilapidation” reports prior to each race. The catch is the cost, $5000 per report as a minimum, so over five years we are talking $25,000 for our strata. Given that many of the heritage buildings fronting the track are over 120 years old and have existing cracking, the potential for dispute with insurers is significant.

The second major issue is security. While weekly rents on the Gold Coast soared from $400 to $3000 per week over the week of the race this comes at a cost, with renters inviting 20 or so mates over to view the race, resulting in security issues, crowding and damage to common areas. The advice we have received is for the strata to hire security. The cost is likely to be $1000 to $2000 for the three days of the race. Over five years we are talking of $5000 to $10,000.

For a modest-sized strata the costs over five years will be $30,000 to $35,000 to protect our property, with no identifiable return to the strata, although owners may get some benefit. I estimate that along the proposed track we have 100 or so strata blocks which combined are facing $3 million in expenses over five years.

Residents have not yet seen a date for the promised consultation meeting. I suggest residents talk with insurers and find out what limitations they might impose on their policies, anyone without insurance should also ask the NCC and government what property protection they are offering. 

John Davies, Newcastle East 

Homeless need help

ISN’T it interesting that the 20 or so homeless living visibly in tents near Wickham Park this whole winter have suddenly relocated ahead of this week’s Vinnies/Nova homeless headcount.

The group were still evident some three days ago. Whether it's a clear out by those who don't want the real numbers known, or its a strategy to keep their own presence low key, we cannot hide from the fact that the numbers without shelter are growing everywhere.

Hopefully the count brings real data that will prompt our city and its leaders to fill its acres of unleased space with affordable homes, not pigeons.

Jodie Dixon, Maryville

Mandate questionable

THERE’S our Prime Minister screaming to anyone who'll listen that the Liberals have a mandate to reintroduce the ABCC legislation to the Senate and the Senate are mandated to pass it.

It's interesting he should use the word mandate. The Liberals didn't even garner 50 per cent of the vote. Anyway, rather than an ideologically driven ABCC, I propose we set up a federal ICAC. We broaden the terms of reference to include any trade union corruption, any improper practices by financial institutions and any malfeasance by federal politicians.

This federal ICAC would be closed to political interference. Have broad investigative powers and the ability to recommend charges if required. It's not a new idea, it works very well in NSW which would be the perfect example on which to model a federal ICAC. Any party that takes that to an election can be just about guaranteed a mandate in the true sense of the word. 

John Lawton, Belmont

Praise for politician

IT is not often that I would find myself in agreement with premise of your opinion writer John Hewson (‘There’s a dire need for conviction politicians’, Herald, 14/10). But I would not admire his two nominees as example of conviction pollies, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Thatcher lead Britain in the Falkland’s war and caused untold misery and Reagan’s laissez faire trickle down economic policy laid the seeds of the crippling financial meltdown of the GFC.

I urge residents to take the time to click on the YouTube report of the maiden speech of the new Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson. Ms Swanson revealed how she got to her new position on the shoulders of so many before her, from the sacrifices of her parents, and the personal sorrow of her father’s work-induced lung cancer, and the witness of the misery of the miners during a visit to England during Thatcher’s reign.

She acknowledged that she had taken advantage of a university education which I am sure that she is aware of the past struggle by those feminist that went before her, like Joan Bielski AO, AM, who spent some 50 years working to promote women in education, politics and our society.

The example of Ms Swanson’s father’s illness has strengthened her conviction and motivation to win for the the residents of Williamtown-Salt Ash the urgent action required to enable those who wish to move to be bought out.

I believe Ms Swanson is a politician of conviction and joins another in Kate Washington to represent our community.

Frank Ward, Shoal Bay

Recipe for global death

I WOULD call the Hunter Regional Plan 2036 rubbish. I think it wastes valuable time that we don't have.

Instead of taking action to curb climate change itself, it makes a bland statement about managing the risks posed by climate change. To include "mine subsidence" is an insult. We are talking about the end of the Holocene here, the end of the world as we know it. The action this plan proposes is "review and update the Newcastle Mines Grouting Fund".

It’s a recipe for global death: "The combination of undeveloped coal resources in the Hunter and Newcastle coalfields and the export capability of the Port of Newcastle provide significant opportunities for growth”.

Not a word about the need to transition away from fossil fuels, because they have precipitated climate chaos. Not a word about how the Hunter will cope with impending system collapse due to the failure to plan and act in a responsible manner. 

Niko Leka, Mayfield

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