Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, January 11, 2018

LITTER: More needs to be done to clean up the streets of our cities, argues one contributor who had a most unpleasant experience. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer
LITTER: More needs to be done to clean up the streets of our cities, argues one contributor who had a most unpleasant experience. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer

LAST week my wife and I travelled into Newcastle to enjoy an evening with friends, stopping in the East End to visit our daughter. We parked our car in Wolfe Street just up from King Street and went to our daughter’s house some 50 metres away. After about half an hour, we returned to our car to find the passenger side window kicked in and my wife’s purse stolen.

We have learnt a lesson that despite the heavy tinting of the windows and the bag tucked under the seat; we should not have left it. It was, however, 4.30pm with heavy pedestrian traffic and we did not expect such a brazen attack in broad daylight.

At this stage a neighbour advised us that he had seen the offender and immediately rang the police and informed us that the police would be here soon.

After 90 minutes and still no police, I walked in the direction the offender was last seen heading, in the hope he had only taken the cash and had discarded the purse. I travelled down Wolfe Street and ventured into the laneways and pathways that abut the old David Jones building and car park in King Street and what I saw was nothing short of a disgrace. The area is littered with rubbish, evidence of drug use, graffiti and many squats used by the homeless.

East End resident groups and state and local politicians are often arguing about light rail and V8s, infrastructure and events that will only benefit our wonderful city. Why is no one championing the underlying social issue, which is apparent in the East End? Authorities and property owners have an obligation to the broader community to keep property and public space in a satisfactory condition and in my view, they have both failed to meet this obligation.

With rain threatening, a broken window and no police in sight we went home disillusioned with the events of the afternoon.

Garry McLachlan, Redhead

Bigger and better on way

THE council has made clear to the Newcastle Herald that a standalone change room for people with mobility challenges (Short Takes, 10/1) and fully accessible toilet will soon be built at Nobbys, in a substantial enhancement on what was available.

This work will also include a standard parents' room sized for a parent and their children to change privately. Later a hoist will be installed as part of a lift and change room facility for beachgoers requiring assistance, which will allow them to transition into a beach/water wheelchair if required. Council understands it would have been ideal to have the upgraded public accessible facilities constructed at the time of the refurbished pavilion, but delivery timeframes tied to grant funding prevented this.  

Separately, regarding recent suggestions that a tourist information centre be located at the former Newcastle station, I encourage Herald readers to visit the Newcastle Shop, located in the former cafe at the Newcastle Museum. There is plenty of parking for small and large vehicles, walk-up access from Honeysuckle Drive, free wifi, light cafe facilities and plenty of tourist information. The Newcastle Shop also serves as the head office for the NEW Crew volunteers, the city's team of specialist visitor guides who promote Newcastle as a leading tourist destination​.

Jeremy Bath, chief executive, Newcastle City Council

Listen to the people

RECENTLY an academic on the radio said her research into people’s desire for legalisation of euthanasia revealed it was not so much for release from unbearable pain, but loss of dignity, quality of life and being a burden after a life spent on working hard and giving for the good of Australia.

In the mid 1950s (post war) the government decided to combine the high income tax and the pension tax (the working person’s superannuation tax) to form the PAYE tax, which ended up in consolidated revenue. There was no “nanny state” then, with baby bonus, child allowance, child minding facilities, etc. and 15 per cent upwards for home mortgages if one were eligible – no first home buyers’ allowance, etc. The pill gave women a choice from being “barefoot and pregnant”, but not equality to men. I always earned more than my husband, but that was not even considered when it came to a bank loan – no credit cards then either!

Surely now is a good time for our religious politicians to take note of what the people want and grant them the right to decide when they quit their “ slough of despond”.

June Porter, Warners Bay 

What’s there to celebrate

AS we near what has become one of the most contentious days in our public holiday calendar “Australia Day”, “should” it be a day of celebration or just another anniversary in our history, but one where we can take stock of where we are now and what have we learned from past mistakes, and what we done to rectify them?

Just two of the many things that are worthy of some thought: First, how well have we done in closing the gap with indigenous Australians? Second, how have we looked after and future proofed our fresh water in this country? We have thrown billions of dollars and held many inquiries into both these objectives, sadly we are no further ahead. Quite shameful really. One could almost say, the way the governments handle these problems it seems they are pursuing Albert Einstein’s theory of insanity.

Allan Earl, Thornton

Serving the community

THE response from the chief executive of Newcastle City Council (Letters, 9/1) about council’s level of support for sporting clubs was not surprising. Typical mundane political speak around what a council is supposed to do but, I think, far from the reality.

Line marking once a year, or top dressing etc. is really ground management that we as ratepayers should surely expect for our sporting fields at no cost. If paying $20k, clubs could fund all of your aforementioned "features" in the private sector or themselves and still have change.

Grant allocations are limited to the very few. If you truly believe that you are leading an exceptional team Mr Bath, and that $20k is a reasonable fee, set out a ground by ground, club by club feedback forum and make it public.

Better still, open the books, who gets what and why … put your ground management staff forward to answer questions ito evidence that NCC does its job well. I've had so much response this week from parents and residents supporting my comments. I intend to contact state and federal members also.

Your job is to serve the community. 

Lucinda Crane, Kotara

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