Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, August 14, 2018

RESPECT: Crowds gather in Maitland on Saturday for the Aroma Festival. One attendee has praised the heritage preservation in the city's centre. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
RESPECT: Crowds gather in Maitland on Saturday for the Aroma Festival. One attendee has praised the heritage preservation in the city's centre. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

I VISITED Maitland on Saturday, August 11, and enjoyed a day out at the delightfully curated Aroma Festival at The Levee and Riverwalk.

Coffee and chocolate of course; plus other delicious food, wonderful music, and art and craft. Stalls included wine tasting, a library corner, garden produce and quirky homewares.

Extending my visit, I ventured out of the festival space and wandered the magnificent, extensive heritage precinct of downtown Maitland. I couldn’t help wondering what would have become of the old Newcastle Post Office building if it had been fortunate enough to be located in Maitland? Sympathetic adaptive use? Respectful maintenance? Dozens of heritage buildings in Maitland have been proudly, and usefully, conserved and are marvelled at daily by locals and visitors. No high rise, no trams, no zoom zoom Supercars.

Maitland thrives by respecting its history, its retailers, residents and visitors. Vive la difference!

Kate Elderton, Toronto

Staff numbers need boost

REGARDING talk on the redevelopment of John Hunter Hospital (‘Health check’, Newcastle Herald, 13/8). Wow! Lots of money mentioned in that article on hospital redevelopments, but how much of that and future money, is going to be spent where it really matters – at the front door, providing the services that hospitals exist for?

Ask anyone on the street, especially your neighbourhood ambo, and they will reply – “go to the ED at JHH, yeah, and wait for hours to be called in and then wait for hours to be treated”. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s been the same for … ever!

We don’t need a ‘new’ hospital, what we need are more doctors and nurses to man the ones we have. And I’m talking ‘worker bee’ doctors and nurses, real on the floor workers. “Oh, but we don’t have the funding to employ more doctors and nurses”, we are told, “we are already over budget for wages”.  Well, where is the money being spent?

When are we going to get a government that will put money towards the real problem, the problem that has existed forever?

Jack Hofman, Cardiff

Plastic fantastic

I THINK it's outrageous, no scandalous, the price of plastic bags at some stores.

Who cares if the odd turtle has a bit of trouble breathing, or the occasional flat head can't see where it's going?

Fifteen cents is still way to much for a piece of thin plastic with a couple of handles attached.

I think they should been given away so we can carry more plastic containers home.

I know there's a bit of a noise being made by the greenies about the amount floating around in the oceans but the turtles and flat head will get used to it, you wait and see.

There is an upside to having a plastic ocean; the reds, greens and blues will make the water so much prettier and not only that before long you'll be able to walk right on top of it rather than swim in it.

The board riders might be a bit miffed having to have to walk out a mile or two before they can find anything capable of creating a wave, but this minor inconvenience will add to their fitness.

The surfies will have to wear gumboots. Plastic can be nasty. Fishing could be a bit of a problem unless you have a cannon to launch your bait, but then again the flathead couldn't see it and the turtles wouldn't feel like eating.

Go for a swim while you still can folks.

Nick Ryder, Booragul

No excuse for blind eye

I READ Mark Porter’s latest letter with interest (Letters, 13/8). Overall he seems to be saying that the way the Catholic Church is set up made it easy for sexual abuse to happen on a huge scale.

Surely this means great numbers of priests took advantage of this to do whatever they liked with children because they knew they would be protected, and get away with it.

Mark suggests Archbishop Wilson has a lack of empathy for victims, the result of rules and a celibate lifestyle. The question I ask is, would Wilson have conjured up any empathy or done anything if a close family member had been sexually violated by a priest?

Empathy is a feeling and having none does not mean you should be irresponsible and act as though nothing has happened.

I believe huge numbers of people who belong to the Catholic Church worldwide allowed sexual abuse to happen. Many knew what was going on and turned a blind eye, while others chose to disregard what children told them for the sake of the church.

Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” For a long time nothing was done and no one spoke out, but things have changed because of the persistence of good people and survivors. All the excuses in the world are not an excuse.

Julie Robinson, Cardiff

Driven from transport

RECENT opinion pieces have indicated that people coming to Newcastle should stop using their cars and get onto public transport. That way parking would not be an issue. The essays also suggested this is what people do in most major cities in Europe. That would all be well and good were it not for the fact that in Newcastle the powers that be, both government and corporate, have done their best to drive people away from public transport.

Prior to closing the railway into the city, patronage on the Hunter lines was increasing for peak periods and the trains were well patronised on weekends. The evidence for this was that trains running during peak periods had to be built up from two cars to four and car parks at stations were full. After the line was closed patronage fell dramatically. I believe the official figures say the fall was about 50 per cent. Anecdotal evidence suggests the number was over 60 per cent. It wasn't just the inconvenience of having to change at Hamilton that drove people back to their cars, for many, the buses could not get them to work on time.

Another reason people love their cars so much is the buses. If the bus timetables weren't bad enough before they were privatised, I think Keolis Downer made them worse. I understand the timetable has since been amended, but for some it still leaves a lot to be desired. One could be excused for thinking the government has been trying to drive people away from the city. 

If the powers that be do in fact want the people to come back into Newcastle on public transport, then the whole system needs to be overhauled, but there also needs to be an inquiry to find out why the decisions that ruined our public transport were made. The level of stupidity we have seen cannot be tolerated and those responsible need to be brought to account.

Peter Sansom, Kahibah


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