Newcastle Herald letters to the editor Saturday January 20 2018

SLOWING DOWN: Kaitlin Lawrence, of Waratah, argues that buses have slowed down commutes to some areas including the city's large retail hubs.
SLOWING DOWN: Kaitlin Lawrence, of Waratah, argues that buses have slowed down commutes to some areas including the city's large retail hubs.

NEW bus timetables have changed – and so have the minds of Newcastle’s disabled community. Many of us use this service as our main mode of transport as it is cheaper than a taxi or Uber. We also enjoy the social aspect of the bus commute.

Keolis Downer’s changed timetables and routing results in changes to the amount of buses people have to catch to get anywhere, especially to major shopping precincts. Many passengers are on some sort of government scheme, which makes the bus a more affordable transport option.

The new transport interchange has, in my opinion, major structural issues both external and internal. The roof doesn’t cover the entire complex, which means commuters are waiting out in the elements on days when the weather is inclement. The convenience store is so small a wheelchair cannot fit in the shop. I believe this could be reported as discrimination.

The NSW government hasn’t thought this through properly, in my view. The errors that have been spotted will take months to fix, not to mention lots of taxpayer money.

The system has potential, but it’s more of a hindrance causing angst. The CBD is a absolute mess due to the construction of the light rail, which has made traffic more congested down King Street. Parking is now even scarcer with the congestion, especially around King Street during the working week.

When this is all finished, the congestion will be somewhat alleviated and the traffic will be more flowing. Either way, the only way is forward. We have problems, but with people power it can be fixed. Everything will be alright in the end, but we don’t know when it will be and we need to know when the end will come.

We need solutions before we go ahead with the big picture otherwise the community will be offside before we even get our light rail!

Kaitlin Lawrence, Waratah

TRADE SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

WE were in business in Hunter Street when the earthquake hit. Hunter Street was closed to the public for two weeks and if we are to be honest, trading patterns changed as people were forced to shop elsewhere.

Some discovered a whole new world of retailing in shopping centres at Kotara and Charlestown. Most never came back and once again, if we are honest, Hunter Street never recovered from that blow. How likely is it therefore that traders who are hit hard with the combination of Supercars and now light rail disruptions will even hang onto their existing businesses (‘Frontline on front foot for chaos compo’, Newcastle Herald, 19/1)? We were “lucky” in that we were able to continue to trade elsewhere, but that business we lost in Hunter Street was never recovered. We feel for those affected because while we were covered by insurance for that event, none of those current traders could be by what are essentially government-inflicted losses. 

It’s shameful that no compensation is being offered. If we drag out the hard-working Australian families cliché, it is a fact that no one works harder than small business owners and their workers.

Garry Robinson, Mannering Park

POSING AFFAIRS QUESTION

OUR Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton seems to have a problem with alleged African street gangs creating havoc in Victoria. A question for Mr Dutton: were you not the Immigration Minister who allowed these people into the country?

If these allegations are proved to be correct, I suggest you use your powers to round these people up and send them back to where they came from, but please do not use this to criticise the Victorian Labor government. A wise man once said it is never smart to criticise someone who is doing a better job than you are capable of.

Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana

A DRY DISCUSSION

IT’S just a matter of when Grahamstown reservoir becomes a dried out mud-flat. 

Cape Town South Africa is the current prominent city to be running out of water. In 2016/2017, when Bolivian capital La Paz ran out of water, petrol tankers were used to bring the people a daily water ration. Glacier melt water is a major source of drinking water for millions of Bolivians, but the glaciers are shrinking and are expected to have completely disappeared by 2030.

During the recent five-year drought in California, 19 million people from north Los Angeles to the Mexican border required water to be pumped from long distances, causing friction with farmers when much of their irrigation water supply was used to relieve Angelinos.

A 1.5-degree rise in annual average temperatures during the last six decades has occurred in California, Australia, parts of South America, and Northern China, and no doubt many other places, causing problems with water availability, more violent storms to tornado strength, catastrophic bushfires, and so on. 

Rain clouds are produced by forests, which also cool continents, and by evaporation over oceans. In Australia we have cleared more than 90 per cent of our forests over 230 years, including vast areas of low desert-adapted inland forests of mallees, mulgas and scrubs.

Why are carbon dioxide emissions still being solely blamed for the ruin of our climate rather than this massive historical and ongoing deforestation?  

Les Hutchinson, South Maitland

IT HURTS TO THINK ABOUT

LET me get this right: there are 100 tragic deaths yearly associated with codeine use, so we ban it? 

One of the justifications is the alleged evidence that shows that non-codeine pain medications are just as effective as codeine. Consumers absolutely know that's not true. Let's keep telling people to use paracetamol. It may not work for anything but the mildest headache, but at least they won't get addicted to it. What did one pain specialist say? That codeine for period pain was not appropriate. Guess the gender of the specialist. There are 5500 deaths due to alcohol annually but we just talk about it, giving teaspoonfuls of advice to individual clients one at a time. There are almost 20,000 deaths due to tobacco each year, so we put the price up and sell it in brown paper. Does anyone else see a disconnect here?

Caitlin Raschke, Cooks Hill

LETTER OF THE WEEK

THIS week’s ​Herald pen goes to Garry Robinson for his letter about the earthquake and Hunter Street trade.

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