Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ACCESSIBILITY: The idea that most workers could keep driving cars into the city was never going to be sustainable. It is time for residents to embrace public transport.
ACCESSIBILITY: The idea that most workers could keep driving cars into the city was never going to be sustainable. It is time for residents to embrace public transport.

I THINK what a lot of people don’t realise is the practicality of the interchange and light rail. The point of building light rail was to open the city up to pedestrians. Everyone gets lost in the thought pattern that now the train is gone they need to physically drive a car into the city. 

This is not the case. Newcastle Interchange is centralised in a great location. It’s serviced by four major arterial roads, two train lines coming from the west and a ferry terminal. Buses currently service the area and will increase services to this new location as each project is completed.

At what point does it click that you’re not encouraged to drive your car into the city. I personally understand that public transport isn't always practical or for everyone. But for the vast majority of residents you have no real reason to not catch a bus, train or ferry.

Most city workers do this daily to get to work and it’s not a hassle. You adjust time to suit your day. I myself drive to my nearest hub and catch the bus to the city every day. It’s a relief to be able to relax before and after work and I avoid a lot of traffic.

The population growth in Newcastle and the Hunter is not going to slow much. There are only so many roads we can lay in a developed area. Even if we didn’t make stupid decisions along the way, like to not include parking at the new UoN or courthouse, Newcastle could never have accommodated every resident driving because they assume they were a chosen one. The city should be pedestrian focused. The only people who need to drive into the city are those providing services, disabled and elderly. What Newcastle should be pushing for is more park and ride stations. Have more free bus zones, more focus on cycling facilities.

We really need to lose the mindset of everyone driving to the same place and embrace public transport.

Josh Markey, Maryland

The making of a good life

IT was disappointing to read in the Newcastle Herald that the University of Newcastle is considering cuts to philosophy and other departments in the arts (‘Philosophy, history face axe’, Herald, 6/9). These subjects have been recognised historically for the social good they provide society.

They provide us with deeper understanding of social, political issues and enable worthwhile contribution to democracy and truer expression of individual liberty.

The cuts were said to be justified by the need to ‘arrest declining enrolments and (unquantified) revenues’. This is clear shift from a previously democratic egalitarian good, to not a liberalised ideal but more accurately a neoliberalised one, for the benefit is not to individual liberty but to the supremacy of the market and the boiling down of all dimensions of society down to a function of economics. It seems increasingly clear that using markets and economics as the only reliable means of discerning value is manifestly inadequate in capturing what makes for a good life.

Will Maguire, Lochinvar

Gouging claim a bit rich

SO Supercars is warning hotels not to price gouge during the Newcastle 500 (‘Vroom reservations’, Herald, 10/10). Give me a break. This is the same organisation that refuses to pay compensation to businesses impacted by their event, has encouraged residents to rent their homes for a fortune, relies on volunteers, will bring in their own caterers, has gouged the life out of Newcastle East and refuses to release the event’s economic modelling or the noise modelling reports to allow public scrutiny. 

I’m pretty sure Newcastle East hotels will have to gouge just to recoup cancelled end-of-year functions that will all relocate elsewhere during bump in and bump out, let alone months of disruption. And they have the hide to give advice on price gouging.

Don’t believe the spin – there may be some benefits for a few, but it’s not a tourism play. The Newcastle 500 is business pure and simple, and I think this is a desperate attempt by Archer Capital to tart up Supercars to assist its sales process.

Andrew Myors, Newcastle East

Question of safety

THE recent admission that sound levels will reach 140 decibels within the race-stricken areas of the city calls to mind the statements reported by the Herald, from Professor Richard Dowell, chair of audiometry, University of Melbourne, when he was commissioned to assess noise damage from jet aircraft at Williamtown, in 2013. He was quoted as saying that any exposure to noise levels in excess of 100 decibels can cause immediate hearing loss or damage. As a result, RAAF closed the pre-schools on the base, since it could not guarantee the hearing safety of children or staff. Since noise levels are logarithmic, this makes 140 decibels extremely dangerous, particularly to children. Could our lord mayor please explain to residents how this can be safe?

John Beach, Boggabilla

Climate change ‘hoax’

LES Hutchinson (Letters, 7/10) says that canola crops have failed to ripen this year because of a lack of rain, not so according to a news report on the weekend that said “after a bumper season last year canola crops can be seen flowering across the Central West and throughout the Riverina”.

A Borambola farmer said that while they needed rain, which is not unusual for farmers, the canola crops “were healthy and in full bloom”. As Dorothea Mackellar said in her epic poem written in the early 1900s, Australia is “a land of droughts and flooding rains”. It was then and it is now.

More and more people are realising what a giant hoax the climate change scare campaign is and whatever humans do, the climate will not be controlled by them.

Jim Gardiner, New Lambton

Keep it to yourself

I WOULD like to raise two points about this same-sex plebiscite that is upon us at the moment.

Firstly why do so many people need to tell us what they voted, they then get upset if somebody opposes their idea and questions them? Do they tell everybody how they voted in a general election? I think not.

Secondly, everybody should keep in mind at the next general election that it was this feeble Prime Minister that has hoisted this dilemma upon us by being too weak to put the thing to a conscientious vote in Parliament, and let the parliamentarians, that we elect to make the laws, decide. Not squib away and be a fence-sitter causing so much unrest within the community.

John Matthews, Belmont North