Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

VISION: Newcastle Jockey Club hopes to build a $20 million complex on Chatham and Darling streets. While some residents have expressed concern, not all are worried.

VISION: Newcastle Jockey Club hopes to build a $20 million complex on Chatham and Darling streets. While some residents have expressed concern, not all are worried.

THE article in Saturday's Newcastle Herald concerning opposition to the Newcastle Jockey Club's proposed development concerns me (‘Concern over club’s plans’, Herald, 18/3). 

I share a back fence with the Newcastle Jockey Club (NJC) so we are certainly close neighbours, and I attended the recent information session hosted by the NJC at which the proposed development of the site was discussed.

I found this session to be informative, and I had my concerns addressed by the chief executive of the NJC. 

The proposal has my support, and the support of lots of my neighbours. 

The alternative would be the Dog Track development, only one hundred times bigger – 100,000 homes, 200,000 cars and 400,000 people. Then we would have some traffic to worry about at the Chatham and Darling intersection.

Michael Collins, Hamilton South

Show leadership on energy

SOMEONE needs to tell you, Malcolm, that the posturing of you and your Energy Minister are fooling only yourselves. Not only this – these foolish posturings are making a great many people very angry.

It was bad enough when your dishonest response to the South Australian blackouts attempted to confuse the problem with the Australian Energy Regulator, but your response to the SA Premier’s admirable attempt to go it alone is just pathetic.

You talk about your Snowy Scheme being able to provide more storage of power but we know this is policy on the run and if it ever happens it will not be for years and will not be enough. You play acted a meeting with the gas industry and from that achieved an agreement that it would step in when a future energy crisis manifests. None of this is good enough. These are stop-gap measures in response to active and sensible actions of the South Australian government that are showing the way the rest of the country needs to go. We need federal leadership on energy policy, not empty and ugly posturing.

Catherine Laudine, Tighes Hill

Playing catch up

IT SEEMS our political leaders have finally rediscovered the 20th century as Australia has had three smaller pumped hydro systems generating electricity at Shoalhaven (240 megawatts), Wivenhoe (500MW) and Tumut (600MW) for over 30 years, and pumped hydro systems were first installed in Europe and America in the 1920s. In 2014 there was 140 gigawatts of pumped hydro generating capacity worldwide (about six times Australia’s average daily demand).

These systems work by pumping water from a low level water storage area to a high level water storage area in periods when excess power is available. In periods of high electricity demand this water is recirculated (via a turbine to generate electricity) back to the low level storage. There are many suitable sites in Australia for installation.

While a 100 megawatt battery can deliver 100MW for one hour, a 100MW pumped hydro system can deliver 100MW until the high level storage is empty. For example an existing 3GW pumped hydro facility in Virginia, USA, has a generating capacity of 30 gigawatt hours and can generate 3GW (about 13 per cent of Australia’s hourly average demand) for up to 10 hours.

Pumped hydro systems are significantly cheaper than batteries and account for more than 90 per cent of world stored energy system capacity. Once installed, their start-up involves little cost and is almost instant, so they play an important role in stabilising the grid and reducing the extreme charges imposed during high-demand periods.

Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi

Document on display

ON March 8, an application under Section 60 of the NSW Heritage Act for the Supercars event was advertised in the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald but not in the Newcastle Herald. It said the document can be viewed at the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) at Parramatta, Wallsend library and the council administration building, but not at Newcastle Region Library. The exhibited hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Tough luck if you work during those hours.

The same day I notified interim chief executive of Newcastle City Council Frank Cordingley, lord mayor Nelmes and the Herald that the document was not properly advertised or exhibited. On March 9, I notified Tim Crakanthorp, MP. I pointed out that Newcastle library was open till 8pm on weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays, allowing workers to easily access it. Mr Cordingley said Supercars had control over where the document is exhibited. He passed on my request to place copies in Newcastle library. That happened (a single copy) on March 13. It’s bizarre that the OEH would hand over their responsibilities to a developer.

The exhibited document was finally advertised in the Newcastle Herald on March 18, 10 days after it appeared in Sydney newspapers. It was allegedly delayed “due to unforeseeable circumstances”. The closing date of March 30 has not been extended. And there is still no mention that it can be viewed in Newcastle library.

It would appear that council and the government have ceded control of this event to developer V8 Supercars, just as they handed control of “revitalisation” in the CBD to Urban Growth: a sad and disturbing farce.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

Respecting opinions

THERE is something inherently flawed about opinion that comes from anonymous writers. It somehow allows people a right/permission to denigrate or abuse others.

The anonymous opinion (‘Lunatics taking over political asylum’, Herald.com.au, 18/3) presented an effective argument yet it failed the essential requisite of free speech – to have some, at least a microscopic amount, of respect for the opinions of others.

There are some who do not research their topic adequately, and I count myself among these, who make absurd claims such as the anti-science, anti-climate change sector. But all any of us want is to put across and opinion and to have it read.

Some may think Pauline Hanson is a "nut-bag". But she presents opinions that are held by many, hence she has considerable support. She doesn't have to be correct.

What this tells me is that there is a massive need for greater education of people. In order to effectively educate people one must first gain their respect – and that starts with respecting the "nut-bag" opinions and helping us all to see the error of our thinking.

Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town

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