Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Saturday, March 3, 2018

NEXT NEWTOWN: The suburb of Mayfield has changed a lot in recent years, argues one contributor who has called on authorities to help the area reach its potential.
NEXT NEWTOWN: The suburb of Mayfield has changed a lot in recent years, argues one contributor who has called on authorities to help the area reach its potential.

COULD Mayfield be the next Newtown?

We're so close you can almost taste it, like a fine soy piccolo or cronut. Mayfield. The long maligned but quietly blossoming suburb where people of all walks of life live side by side; students, LGBTQI folk, young families, senior citizens and people in public housing.

It works and it's something to be proud of, but Mayfield has so much more potential.

If the majority of traffic on Maitland Road was pushed onto Industrial Drive where it belongs and a bicycle lane or rear to the curb parking added to one side (along with more crossings), I believe a cosmopolitan shopping strip would boom with small bars, restaurants and shops.

We have fabulous hints of its potential with superb cafes but they're spread out and there are many vacant shops.

Come on Newcastle City Council, let's make Mayfield a destination not somewhere where you risk life and limb just getting out of your car. Add more parking and make Maitland Road two lanes not four.

Sarah Aubrey, Mayfield

Letting go of the past

THAT the Department of Planning and Environment is at least considering the possible closure of the Carrington coal terminal is heartening (‘Loaded question’, Newcastle Herald, 28/2). If it comes to pass, it will be good news for residents living in the immediate vicinity of this operation as well as the whole of the Upper Hunter as increasing open-cut mining and coal transport send particle pollution skyward.

We cannot escape the fact that the world is changing and an awareness of climate change and its unwelcome effects may be finally getting through to legislators. However, there is no doubt the coal has played a pivotal role in Hunter Valley communities and those who have invested their working lifetimes in it need new opportunities for a future beyond dependence on coal.

Those on both sides of the debate posit the future of coal. To do this misses the point; workers in the industry must see government policy that predicts a future beyond coal for them. 

Fortunately the Hunter is blessed with several innovative centres and projects that promise a future in coal's logical replacement, renewables. Only this week, the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus announced the intention to be run on renewables only by 2020. The CSIRO in Mayfield is leading research into the production of super-critical steam utilising concentrated solar. The university is leading in research into solar paint and printed photovoltaics. 

Given proper government support and investment, the future of the Hunter could be transformed to the state or national hub for renewables research and manufacture. The winners should be those involved in the industry it will replace. For too long successive NSW governments have permitted and encouraged the destruction of the beautiful Hunter Valley communities, landscapes and ecology. The Hunter still has wine and tourism, including horse studs. It is time to look to the future not to cling to the past. 

Properly executed, this approach will benefit the workers of today as well as leaving a better environment for generations to come. Making the transition quickly and seamlessly will require sophisticated planning and a willingness to invest in the future.

Our grandchildren and their children will be the beneficiaries and the planet will be allowed some more breathing space.

Judith Leslie, Bulga

Time to get rid of relic

COLIN Geatches (Short Takes, 2/3) used the old chestnut that we should retain our current flag because Australian Defence personnel fought and died for it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the last thing on the mind of ADF personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq, PNG or Gallipoli, was our bloody flag. I served for 25 years and only thought about the flag when on parade. Let’s get rid of the relic from the past and put the indigenous flag in place of the British flag.

Mike Sargent, Raymond Terrace

Life with maximum density

WHAT an absolute joke that Wade Morris for SNL should claim (architectural) 'merit' for the Whitebridge over-development (‘Whitebridge unit proposal resurrected’, Herald, 2/3). I think the dwellings that are being built right now are absolute minimum specifications with maximum density. They even have garages that are so small I wouldn't be able to open the doors on my van if I drove into one.

Len McCarthy, Whitebridge

Silence critics with action

IN reply to Brad Hill (Short Takes, 27/2): it's true the impact of mining is being overstated but still, we can't ignore long-term effects of uncovered coal trains through our suburbs. We can't ignore the danger of coal dust pollution over towns like Singleton.

Coalmining forces the government to provide integrated road, rail, electricity and water services on a scale we never see when community projects are proposed. The coal industry should be honest in its publicity campaigns. They throw the term "clean coal" around but everyone knows that's a joke. If the industry got serious about improving its practices and image, the over zealous critics would have little to whine about.

John Butler, Windella Downs

Any word on race ‘threat’

I NOTE NSW chief public health officer, Kerry Chant’s public comments, including a recent letter to the editor (Letters, 17/02), denying that there is a cancer cluster in Williamtown. However, I don’t recall any public comment, including letters to the editor from her about the health threats posed by the V8 Supercars race last year. I know that she was aware of the concerns of inner city residents. She should have been aware of publicly expressed concerns of medicos, including letters to the editor and I assume she knew about the statement of 70 doctors, including GPs, paediatricians, hearing specialists and, gerontologists opposing the race venue because of serious short and long term health risks to those who live and/or work in the eastern CBD.

Assuming that I didn’t miss any public statements from her, I suggest it’s still not too late for her to make a public comment about this matter, given we face another four, perhaps even nine, years of this race.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

Letter of the Week

The Herald pen goes to Kathy Wilson for her letter about pool safety.


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