Newcastle Herald letters November 30 2017

CIRCLING: Maryland's Josh Markey says the lack of maintenance and a practical purpose support the council's decision to bring down Queen's Wharf tower.
CIRCLING: Maryland's Josh Markey says the lack of maintenance and a practical purpose support the council's decision to bring down Queen's Wharf tower.

WHILE the Queen’s Wharf tower (‘Tower on its last legs’, Herald, 29/11) may be iconic to the scenery, it certainly isn’t something we should be proud of.

The sentimental value is far outweighed by the liability that comes with keeping the current form that we all have known as "the big penis". The tower has been left in a disgraceful state by successive councils for close to two decades, with no money being allocated to maintain or modernise the ageing structure.

It holds little to no practicable value to our community due to lack of ease of access for the elderly and disabled and has become a haven for anti-social behaviour.

Its current state is not welcoming, and could be mistaken for a public urinal. It is not something that reflects what Newcastle is or should be known for.

The costs and benefits to upgrade it to modern standards do not stack up, let alone the physical structural changes required would change the complete appearance of the tower.

Newcastle has a rare opportunity to remove this blight and replace with a new icon that all Novocastrians can be proud to showcase, like our ANZAC memorial bridge walk. Our city is now on the world map. Let’s be known for our pride in this great city, not our lack of architectural design.

Chop it, Newcastle.

Josh Markey, Maryland


TEARING down monuments from previous administrations reminds me of the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

Where do you stop?  Dismantle Brett Whiteley’s bird's nest in front of Newcastle Art Gallery?  Newcastle council has the opportunity of a double-barrel solution: cover the Queen’s Wharf offending appendage with a Christo-esque, 30 metre plastic sheath and and erect an appropriately positioned sign: “NCC supports safe sex”. It’s art and social responsibility in one shot.

Dennis Thurlow, Louth Park


THE decision taken by Newcastle council to remove the Queen’s Wharf tower is, in my opinion, wrong. I believe the council is pandering only to a minority of what I consider sick-minded people.

Maybe those like the council general manager who are embarrassed by the lewd comments are mixing with the wrong, one-track minded crowd.

I believe there are simple solutions to improve the appearance, if that is the real problem. One solution would be to remove the round roof dome from the top and replace it by helicopter with an outward sloping aluminium frame shaped like an airport conning tower, adding glass panels after installation.

If, on the other hand, the problem is the ongoing maintenance due to rust this could be overcome by encasing the existing steel frame in concrete. Pre-shaped timber formwork could be used both internally and externally, jacking up the formwork to the next level after filling with concrete as they do when building concrete silos or power station cooling towers.

Vertical openings could be provided at each level to add glass, allowing light in to illuminate the stairway. This would also overcome a lot of the mess currently made by the intrusion of birds.

This tower is now part of Newcastle’s landscape and should remain. I have read comments many times by people who dislike the council administration round house, which has also had more than its share of maintenance problems. Is the council planning to pander to this group and demolish that building also?

John Yates, Belmont


TO quote Jeremy Bath (‘Tower on its last legs’, Herald, 29/11): “There is no other way to describe the Queen’s Wharf Tower other than an embarrassment to the city”. 

“Unsurprisingly, there aren’t many cities around the world that have placed a 30 metre high phallic symbol in their most prominent public space!”

I say that not many places around the world would close an existing, functioning transport corridor either or have a light rail system that does not have a train stop at the iconic heritage building known as the Newcastle railway station. It is either a 200 or 180 metre walk from the nearest train stop!

Go figure what comes out of our supposed leaders’ mouths. Do they not see, consider or contemplate this double standard type thinking before speaking or presenting a view we are to just accept, without us thinking or contemplating what has been said or done by them before?  

Neil Allen, Newcastle


NATIONALS MP Andrew Broad on Wednesday accused Malcolm Turnbull of ignoring conservatives in the same-sex marriage debate, saying there has been a clear failure of leadership.

How much can the conservatives demand of the Prime Minister's leadership, which I agree has been almost non-existent, that they insist he do everything they want without regard for other Liberal party members’ opinions and desires?

Mr Broad seems to me to fail to recognise that we are a democracy in which conservatives are only a small part. They cannot have it all their own way and their continued demands are reflective of a childish tantrum, an attitude of getting their own agenda as first priority.

Everyone's days are numbered and no-one lasts as Prime Minister forever but this "last territorial demand" of the conservatives makes it look to me as if the endgame has started. 

Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town


POLICE have praised Supercars crowd behaviour despite an “egg throwing” incident. (“Exceptional: police praise Supercars fans as crackdown ends”, Herald 29/11). No mention though of the East End resident who went away to escape the noise and returned home to report a large ceramic pot thrown through his front window. 

Last week police rattled sabres and threatened long-suffering residents with the riot squad (“Police warn residents not to upset fans”, Herald 18/11).

It’s interesting to contrast this attitude with a street banner I observed last weekend in Macleay Street in Sydney’s Potts Point: “Police targeting noisy vehicles, loud music and excessive horn use. Penalties apply”.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle


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