Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

ON TRACK: Many in the health field share concerns about a lack of open space in town planning and what that means for families in the future, says one contributor.
ON TRACK: Many in the health field share concerns about a lack of open space in town planning and what that means for families in the future, says one contributor.

THIS Sunday we road a cycle loop along the Fernleigh Track, along the lake, then on the bike track behind Wallsend. Not always safe nor perfect, but large sections were very safe and family/child friendly. The proposed Hunter/King streets bike tracks are a joke by modern town planning standards. I know health experts are incredulous that there is any pretence that it would encourage any altered health behaviours. Emergency departments were certainly not consulted regarding safety.

In this era of increasing obesity and when, internationally, other cities are gouging back green open space to encourage the safe movement of pedestrians and cyclists, why are we blocking part of once public land? Surely we rid ourselves of the rail because it 'divided' our town now we will have buildings? How ironic. 

At one stage we passed a young dad with his little boys, all on bikes, we exchanged pleasantries. The dad then said 'you don't mind paying your rates when on a track like this'. It was the section of the Fernleigh belonging to Lake Macquarie council.

Will Newcastle council be able to proudly say they have given safe healthy access to our future generations? We are all aware that political pressure is, sometimes, overwhelming but surely we we must differentiate ourselves from the state or we may as well not have council elections.

I work in the health sector and so do many of my friends and relatives – we all have a particular perspective. We believe we need space in the future for people to walk and ride within our city and to our beaches. I am a Newcastle resident.

Maureen O'Neill, Lambton

Cinema talkers stay close

I CHOKED on my Weet-Bix on Monday morning when I read Paul Scott’s condemnation of Novocastrian cinema goers (‘Novocastrians often make for obnoxious movie goers’, Newcastle Herald, 30/10). I thought he must have been at the Tower complex on Saturday when my wife and I attended the New York Met Opera’s presentation of Norma. There were only a dozen people in the place, but an elderly couple and a younger man came and sat right behind us.

Halfway through, the oldies struck up a loud conversation which eventually prompted me to ask them to shoosh. At interval I was jabbed in the back by the younger man trying to apologise, an effort which I spurned. On returning to the auditorium my wife and I moved several rows forward trying to avoid the trio. Would you believe, they moved forward too and again sat right behind us. But what of the opera? It was so beautiful that at one point I nearly choked on some tears. Good practice for a Monday morning’s Weet-Bix.

Ray Dinneen, Newcastle

Seek to change status quo

IT would be easy to dismiss Jeff Corbett’s opinion as a just another male chauvinist rant (‘Power play’s next act’, Herald, 28/10). But, like it or not, his opinions are shared by many men. Whereas we should acknowledge the status quo regarding the roles of men and women, that doesn’t mean that we should accept it, or not seek to change it.

Powerful men, whether they be kings, presidents or Hollywood producers, have always abused their power in order to obtain sex. Attractive women have always been willing to provide sexual favours in order to achieve their ambitions. Often we can see this power play at work in our humble domestic relations. Sometimes it is a fine legal line between consent and sexual abuse.

Homo sapiens are like every other species on the planet, including our close primate cousin, the bonobo. We have sex because it is enjoyable. We have sexually receptive displays. Evolution has programmed this into us otherwise we wouldn’t procreate. But like most other species, including the bonobo, evolution keeps providing many of us who are same-sex oriented. This cannot be a genetic mistake, otherwise it would be eliminated by evolution. For the religious, this cannot be God’s mistake either, because this would make God a very slow learner. 

So the heterosexual majority should accept, embrace and celebrate the large minority in our society who are same-sex oriented. If same-sex couples want to get married, then we should accept this. If lesbian couples want children then, why not?

Geoff Black, Caves Beach

An unsophisticated nation

MY wife and I are still waiting for the yes/no marriage equality envelope to arrive. How hard is it to send to registered voters? What does unsettle me however, is the way our so-called leaders are handling our place on the world stage. Good at arguing with each other and ensuring their own political parties survive, at the expense of the people they are paid to serve.

We live in a country that is promoted as being one of the most sophisticated in the developed world. If our politicians and senior public servants truly believe this is the case then they are, in my opinion, dreaming. We have fuel reserves around 50 per cent below the minimum worldwide standby requirement. We can't produce any ourselves. Gas exports stripping the reserves we require for our own domestic and industrial needs. Probable blackouts on electricity supply due to closing power stations while our "leaders" have suddenly realised the position we are faced with. Brilliant. An nbn project that is more and more likely to fail us, on all aspects, at a massive cost to the public purse. Military purchases over the years that have also been a massive cost to the taxpayer, with many of those being absolute failures and a complete farce.

One could add further to the above list but I've made my point. Sophisticated country we may ask ourselves? A great country to live in I believe but, until we start getting value for money from our thinkers and decision makers, then we are unsophisticated.

Gary Scow, Warners Bay

Rail removal made sense

I AM sick of being subjected to the whining of Keith Parsons, Save Our Rail and others. Heavy rail trundling into Newcastle station was quite ridiculous and removing it was really commonsense.

How silly it would be to then divide the city by running the light rail along that corridor. The light rail will rejuvenate Hunter Street and be a revelation for our city. 

The rail corridor can then be used for sensible development, creative open space and parking. Already the open space is proving to be a wonderful asset linking our city with the harbour. When, if ever, will these knockers give in and get behind a great opportunity for our city?

Paul Nicod, Hamilton South