Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, October 26, 2017

PRIVACY: One resident is questioning the development approvals' process, arguing residents seem to have little options available to protect their privacy.
PRIVACY: One resident is questioning the development approvals' process, arguing residents seem to have little options available to protect their privacy.

HAVE you ever driven around your suburb and noticed a two-storey development of townhouses that completely overshadow the existing homes that lie to either side, and wondered how the people in these houses feel about it? Well wonder no more because this could happen to you.

When the cottage beside us was sold to developers we accepted that we would have some form of townhouse built beside us. We did not expect that five two-storey townhouses would be squeezed into the long but narrow block and that we would be overlooked by windows the full length of our property.

A letter from Lake Macquarie City Council informed us that we could place an objection to the development as it was presented. I consulted the council’s Development Control Plan 2014 and was slightly heartened when I realised that according to this plan, developers were supposed to take into consideration the opportunities for overlooking into adjacent properties and to minimise this where possible. Despite our objections council approved the plans with some changes, or so we were told. The development has now reached the stage where the windows have been installed. Quite large and low windows are now overlooking our outdoor private open space. 

It seems to us that the regulations that are supposed to protect us are being gradually eroded. The only course of action if the council has approved a development is to take council to court, which is out of the question for people in our situation. We have been told to just live with it. We don’t plan to move so of course like everyone else we will just have to live with it.

Judith Spargo, Kahibah

The longest three days

IT is still 30 days away from what supporters keep insisting is "only a three-day event". Anyone who has attempted to visit Nobbys beach, Fort Scratchley, or the Foreshore Park will have already recognised that the destruction has been going on for months. Local business owners have probably suffered the most. Residents have been subjected to noise, dirt, abuse and more recently "hoon" activity on "the track" as it has become known.

Now it is getting worse. The infrastructure for the race is being installed. This will happen every year that the race is allowed to occur in our beachside suburb. We are told that the "bump in bump out" period will take approximately 12 weeks, i.e. three months of every year. There is no parking at the beach, or the foreshore, and there is almost no access to the usually busy park. For 12 weeks each year much of Newcastle East will look as it does today, like a prison.

Visitors to our town cannot understand how this has been allowed to happen. Neither can I. Newcastle City Council continues its spin of more parking and more shade. At what cost?

Jennifer O'Donoghue, Newcastle

Our ‘devitalisation’

NEWCASTLE City Council earned much credit for its civic projects like Bathers Way, the ongoing restoration of the City Hall, and the renovations to the library. Here revitalisation seems an appropriate word.

Bathers Way is delight with its timber rail fences, public shelters and seating, and its lovely textured pavements. I watched with admiration as the concrete dressers accomplished their exacting task. The stone work on the exterior of the City Hall is another example of great work by council.

But the hasty work in the Supercars rush is bringing devastating consequences. I now watch as Watt Street footpaths are replaced by tar. A section of lovely herringbone pavers are torn up and bitumen laid in their place. The workers have no time for niceties. Get it done. In time for The Race.

Is this meant to be a step forward? Is this part of the Supercars promise? Is this the future of our city centre? Or what? Can anybody explain?

Council's own documents call for the proper conservation and retention of the character of the city, but that is down the drain now, sacrificed so that a private company from somewhere else can defile our Grand Old Lady. Council is squandering a great deal of money and endless brownie points on its Supercars devitalisation of Newcastle. Shame.

Roland Bannister, Newcastle

Churches do great work

IT saddens me when I see letters written by writers such as Nick Ryder (Letters, 20/10) and Geoffrey Black (Letters, 17/10). They are written in either ignorance or prejudice. Without the input from the churches in this country the welfare system would collapse. Consider the contributions made by the Salvation Army, Vincent de Paul, the Samaritans and ADRA. Support that is provided for the poor and needy by these and other institutions is immeasurable, from low cost rental accommodation for single mums and street kids, to food dockets, clothing. Then there are the schools and hospitals and the list goes on even to overseas activities from providing scholarships to the underprivileged in South America to digging wells in Kenya, getting kids off the streets in India, saving them from prostitution or slavery. 

A great deal of this activity is done by voluntary workers and doesn’t cost the government a single cent. The day may come when men such as Nick Ryder and Geoffrey Black are faced with fire or flood and the first people to be there to help them will be the Salvos. You guys need to get your facts straight and applaud the churches for their good works, not put them down.

Alan Kendall, Neath

System seems healthy

WE are indeed fortunate to have such a good medical facilities available here in Newcastle. I would like to say a big thank you to the young lady at reception, the wards nursing staff and of cause my surgeon at Newcastle Private Hospital, as well as my GP. I was a day patient there recently where I had carpal tunnel surgery on both my hands and could not speak highly enough of my experience, everyone was so caring and professional, what a great job they all do.

I know we all complain about the high cost of private health fund premiums and with good reason, but it served me well in this case when I was in a lot if pain and was able to get an appointment with the specialist on Thursday which my GP arranged three days before and because of the severity of my problem was operated on the next Wednesday. Ten days from start to finish is pretty good in my book. While we all hope not to need a hospital, it’s assuring to know we are in good hands should we do so.

Ian King, Warners Bay