Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

STATEMENT: Students protesting outside the launch of the UoN "new brand" on Monday. Questions have been asked about the cost of the campaign. Picture: Marina Neil
STATEMENT: Students protesting outside the launch of the UoN "new brand" on Monday. Questions have been asked about the cost of the campaign. Picture: Marina Neil

A FEW days after hearing of the $1 million rebranding extravaganza of the University of Newcastle I get a request in the mail from the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy for a donation.

The donation is intended to assist “students who need it most”.

A worthy cause, no doubt, but you do have to ask how the university can really justify $1 million for marketing and at the same time be asking Alumni to chip in to help struggling students.

The rebranding by the University of Newcastle (‘Uni in New bust up with union over jobs’, Herald, 16/5), I see as part of a trend in education where schools, TAFE and universities pour money into marketing at the expense of quality education and assistance for students.

Perhaps they have their priorities wrong.

Steve Weatherstone, Warners Bay

No room for expansion

THE report that said work to demolish the Wickham station was beginning this month came as no surprise, although the loss of yet another significant heritage building is disappointing (‘Light rail depot on way’, Herald, 11/5).

However, my main concern is the tram depot that will go in its place. It has been suggested that the tram network will, in time, be expanded. Indeed it has also been suggested the light rail will not be viable unless expansion takes place.

Since the powers that be have decided to go down this path my hope is that extensions to the light rail network will be built. With thoughtful and careful planning (something we have yet to see) a light rail network will be a major asset to the city.  

If such extensions do eventually take place, then the light rail fleet will need to be expanded, as will the servicing and stabling facilities. From what I have seen, there is very little, if any room, for expansion at the proposed site. During an information session last year, I brought this to the attention of one of the staff. He seemed to be of the view that if the light rail was extended, then a new facility would be built elsewhere.

I would have thought it would have made more sense to build the light rail servicing facility on a site where there would be ample room for expansion, that way everything needed would be in the one place and no duplication of management or inventory of spare parts would be required.

The closure of the railway and the light rail is fast becoming a litany or poor planning, a total lack of forethought and waste. The project needs to be reviewed.

Peter Sansom, Kahibah

Sad farewell to jetty

IT was interesting to read the article regarding the impending closure of the RSL jetty (‘Wangi RSL jetty to be shut’, Herald, 10/5). The jetty has, for many years, been in a state of neglect due to a number of issues but I suggest it could be partially due to oversized vessels owned by itinerant live-aboard boat owners mooring alongside for extended periods at minimal cost.

This has been a win/win for both parties with boaties having ready access to the club and the club having ready access to their expenditure.

The downside is the jetty is exposed to severe westerly winds in the winter and big north easterlies in summer and it is one of the more exposed jetties on the lake.

Maintenance costs should be a high consideration but it would appear that little has been spent in that regards, hence the announcement of closure June 1.

I understand the home of the Wangi Sailing Club was established in the mid-1980s by the hard work of members. The club was built on land acquired by legal means on a long-term lease from the RSL club.

Some years ago, an attempt was made by factions of the RSL to obtain the Sailing Club site but this was defeated by club members and the matter lapsed. It is incredible that the RSL management appear to be trying to attempt the same thing again by suggesting that the Sailing Club purchase the land they already have leased on long term.

The sailing club, without doubt, has a high profile and the amount of events scheduled have brought in and continue to bring significant income not only to the sailing club but the adjacent RSL and town facilities.

Perhaps the best thing that could happen is that the RSL demolish the old jetty and a new public jetty similar to that near the caravan park at Wangi Point be built in front of the sailing club.

That would have the effect of still allowing the day tripper's access to the town, give the sailors jetty access and send the itinerants off to the new F Jetty at Rathmines. Or is that a bit too far to walk to the club?

John R Bailey, Wangi Wangi

Argument ‘pointless’

JANET Sutherland’s (Letters, 12/5) response to Mr Dolan and Mr Hillard is redundant. First, because they were only accurately pointing out that private school parents actually subsidise the public sector.

Secondly, and most importantly, her argument about user pays is pointless because no one is going to force private transport owners onto public transport. Just as with schools the tax increases to pay the new recurrent costs, massive infrastructure costs and annual maintenance would create an incredible tax burden for us all.

If it saves me or Janet money, leave well enough alone I say.

Janet should still be able to afford that BMW. She could even upgrade to 5 Series with the money non government school parents are saving her.

Colin Fordham, Lambton

How BMW helps

PETER Dolan asked me to explain how my BMW would contribute to our community's betterment (Letters, 15/5).

Are grants and recurrent funding to private schools dependent on any such limitation?

Would it be sufficient for me to claim the BMW ensures my children will travel a righteous path and in doing so avoid the complexities of learning how to navigate the public transport system with its diversity of experiences and options?

From our ivory tower of insularity where experience of, and respect for difference is theoretical only; I promise that my children and I will be modestly kind and effusively tolerant of public transport users.

Unlike some, we won't even demand a ‘thank you' from them even though my use of the BMW saves them maintenance costs and means fewer trains need to be funded from the public purse.

Janet Sutherland, Hillsborough


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