Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, May 15, 2017

QUESTIONS: Some residents feel their concerns regarding the Supercars event in Newcastle have not been addressed and they accuse council of bowing to business.

QUESTIONS: Some residents feel their concerns regarding the Supercars event in Newcastle have not been addressed and they accuse council of bowing to business.

THERE’S a wall of silence surrounding safety information for the proposed Supercars events, and it has been built by our council, Supercars, and Destinations NSW. Meanwhile, our city places itself in the supine position, compliantly waiting for the assault, quite prepared to let Supercars have its way.  

And while we wait, what passes for “community consultation”, through the MERWG Committee, is, in my opinion, little more than a farce; questions from community representatives taken on notice, then rarely answered, obfuscated around, or put off to a future date which never comes. It’s like shouting into a cave and waiting for a meaningful echo. How hard must it be for council staffers, placed in the unenviable position of trying to implement contentious decisions made by councillors, while preserving faith with the community.

Key issues, particularly around noise levels for residents living on the track, have never been addressed, and crucial data exposing ambient noise levels at the Homebush circuit, where no residents were actually living in the same close proximity, continues to be suppressed. While our Williamtown air base has taken responsible steps to remove its two childcare centres because of noise, council happily cedes to what I would call dubious assurances of the Supercars enterprise regarding noise safety. And where is the noise abatement strategy, which was promised almost six months ago at the first community meeting? This strategy needs to be produced and peer-reviewed, now. As our representatives, council needs to insist on this.

I note that the necessary approvals for the track in this location have not yet been obtained, despite the pre-emptive sale of tickets. The opportunity to move the race still exists, but that would require council to act assertively on behalf of residents.

John Beach, Cooks Hill

Just get it done, anyone

FOR many years we have seen local politicians begging for funding for the completion of the Glendale Interchange.

Just last week we saw Hunter MPs demand the much needed $13 million to fund the project which for many years was overlooked by various previous Labor/Liberal federal and state governments.

Given the importance of this project, which these politicians constantly remind us about, rather than constantly complaining that someone else isn't fixing the problem, how about we stop the excuses, get off our backsides and fix the problem ourselves.

Recently, the Newcastle Herald reported that Lake Macquarie council was "hoarding" the best part of $97 million of rate payers money.

If this project is so important, let's stop the excuses and use a portion of this money to get on with the job and finally deliver this resource to the people of the Hunter. Despite the $13 million price tag, this would still leave council with $84 million left over once completed, and provide this much needed infrastructure which many have been waiting many years for.

Mitchell Griffin, East Maitland

Tough times ahead

“Electricity network sell-off rakes in $3 billion”, says the headline in Friday's Newcastle Herald (12/5). Today we have the Premier singing the praises of the latest flog-off, our “poles and wires”, by telling us all the wonderful things the money is going to provide for, Sydney Metro, Westconnex new schools, hospitals, and arts or sports centres. Where will the bulk of these wondrous projects be located? The Sydney Basin of course.

But have faith – to keep us “country yokels” happy, one third of the booty will be spread round the rest of the state and it will be spread very thinly.

It will now be very interesting to see how long it takes for power prices to start rising and all the added benefits, such as outages, to lock in. We reap what we sow, and the prospects of a good harvest out of the latest crop doesn’t auger well for all of us, both in Sydney and the bush.

David  Barrow, Merewether

For community good

JANET Sutherland (Letters, 12/5) forgot to explain how buying her BMW is contributing to our community’s betterment.

It is true that most of us pay taxes for community provisions we don’t wish to use, but doesn’t private education contribute to our community’s betterment?

Some return of the taxes paid by working parents who choose private education to private schools makes the ‘freedom of choice’ Janet mentions more affordable, and it also enables governments to fund public education more generously.

Peter Dolan, Lambton

We’re all losing

YASMIN Catley, (‘Offshore train fiasco in Queensland a warning’, Herald, 11/5), sells the Victorian Labor government short. That government is backing Australian can-do, all the way, with its railway policy.

Steady development of the trunk rail corridors is so successful it is being given funding by the Turnbull government. There is no equivalent in NSW, which doesn't exist outside Sydney. No wonder premier Barry O'Farrell didn't pause when he said, "It's gone", at the 2014 Maitland community cabinet meeting. This was about weakening the nation's leading corridor, bursting with unused business opportunities.

A jobs and growth policy right under your nose. Fancy running fastest services at 65kph, in 2017, rather than bringing the corridor up to scratch. Everyone is losing.

Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park

Show us the plans

IN order to implement the Newcastle revitalisation plan the government will have comprehensively worked through the future options in order to provide a workable and relevant integrated transport system.

This system, which will rely in large measure on new transport initiatives such as the light rail and the privatised bus contract, obviously addresses a long term plan for the region embracing buses, rail (light and heavy), cars and parking, cyclists and pedestrian movement.

Having said that, it would still be prudent of government to release those plans together with the business case for the proposed system, for the community to fully understand and support the proposed solutions.

This, as an act of good faith, would enable the council and its constituents to feel comfortable with rezoning the existing transport corridor as being redundant for transport needs and therefore available for other uses.

David Stewart, Newcastle East

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