Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Saturday, January 6, 2018

Questions: Lucinda Crane writes that she was shocked at the amount of money her son's soccer club paid in fees to Newcastle Council. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Questions: Lucinda Crane writes that she was shocked at the amount of money her son's soccer club paid in fees to Newcastle Council. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

I RECEIVED fees for my son to play premier soccer with a Newcastle club. They are great people and wonderful role models as volunteers. I was shocked at the fees and when I questioned the club, they promptly and very willingly provided me with a breakdown. Once they pay NNSW Football and the FFA plus relevant insurances and gear costs, I noticed a levy.

A levy that allows this club to pay some $20,000 in council fees to host training and games and to turn on lights. Why are sporting groups held to ransom by council and associated sporting bodies?

Newcastle City Council does nothing for these clubs but simply apply red tape whilst putting out their hand for fees that community/not-for-profit groups should not have to pay.

This is a big club, and they train and play six or seven days a week. Are they being hampered by their size or does every club cop such a hefty fee? Surely not fair. Maybe the council can explain what clubs get in return for $20,000. All I see is volunteers doing everything while council mows once a week on a tractor. These are grounds for community use.

Lucinda Crane, Kotara

Missed opportunity

MY overall impression is that Transport NSW, and its local agency Revitalising Newcastle, so often acts as though it thinks it has all the answers. But I do wonder just how savvy and diligent it is. In fact, I charge it with being negligent in its planning.

On December 28, 2017 the West Australian reported that Perth is exploring a new light rail system that required no wires (like ours), can be built in Australia, and has no fixed tracks – instead trams would be guided along by following a white magnetic track that is sprayed on the road surface. 

Trams follow a fixed track and are recharged at stations: “it is a new kind of bus on the road.” This is so much cheaper and less disruptive than what Transport NSW is doing here. Also, note that this concept “has been successfully tested in parts of the world.” It seems pretty slack of Revitalising Newcastle to be seemingly unaware of this radical technology and failing to offer it to Newcastle. Such a system could be rapidly expanded into our suburbs too.

David Rose, Hamilton

An ‘archaic’ excuse

IT is inconceivable that Jeremy Bath could make a statement about ceasing community dressing facilities at beaches and baths, blaming paedophiles (‘Nobby’s toilet trouble, Newcastle Herald, 3/1). That seems to be such an archaic way of solving one of the many blunders of Newcastle council.

Paedophiles can be found in unsuspecting places, perhaps even surf clubs. Imagine when the schools arrive at the beaches or the ocean pools for their lifesaving or swimming lessons, what problems would arise while dressing in the open air with mixed gender company. Recently a large cruise ship arrived in Newcastle on a hot summer day, full of holiday-makers who obviously admired Nobby’s Beach and went for a swim. Afterwards they realised they had to use the toilets to get dressed in.

There is no guessing as to what their opinions of the facilities were at the beach and what was said as they arrived back at the ship. Then to take the amenities away from Dixon Park, which is not only for beach-goers but an area used for picnics, is ludicrous. Why not have security checks by staff employees at these venues?

Another blunder, on New Year's Day I witnessed an emergency ambulance trying to get through the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the esplanade. They obliviously realised it was impossible to get through so tried the top road under the fort. I am not sure that that was successful. Community consultation with the ratepayers who use these amenities would be acceptable, then maybe some sensible solution could be forthcoming.

Pat Wilson, Merewether

Cost shouldn’t be secret

ONCE again the town clerk has used the phrase “commercial-in-confidence” ('Newcastle developer shelves car park plan', Herald, 4/1). Why is the detail of a simple contractual arrangement between our council and a bus company being elevated to the level of being top secret? 

I doubt that any bus company would be so concerned about an agreement it entered into with a client that it included a secrecy clause. Alternatively if the council drafted the agreement and if it included a secrecy clause, then what is the purpose of hiding the terms of the agreement from the ratepayers? 

If the agreement does not include a secrecy clause then what is Jeremy Bath's justification for not releasing the details? More openness at Town Hall would be appreciated.     

Les Brennan, Newcastle East

Beach decision ‘out of step’

IT was dismaying to see the deputy lord mayor and other councillors crowing about their "upgrades" on these pages. I would like to see exactly what sort of “community consultation” would result in the removal of what are commonly considered normal beach facilities. Were people informed that more toilets could only be provided at the expense of the change rooms?

In my opinion, the council is out of step with modern beach culture in Australia. Most good, well-patronised Australian city beaches have change rooms that include a shower. You see Mr Clausen, the rest of us sometimes need a bit more than a quick rinse under the outside shower.

The reason of removing a change room because of the possibility of paedophilia sounds like it was made up after the fact, in an attempt to justify bad planning. Especially as parents now have no choice but to strip their kids at the outside shower and dress them in full public gaze. Maybe when they see the adults who've no choice but to do the same the council might reconsider.

Sharon Bailey, New Lambton

Insult to general public

I BELIEVE that the claim by police that the youth arrested under the new terrorism laws on January 3, if they were in place before would have prevented the Lindt Café siege, is just a further indication of how the public is given no respect or credit for having a brain by governments and their public representatives. 

Allan Earl, Thornton

LETTER OF THE WEEK

This week the Herald pen goes to Frances Cook, of Warabrook.

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