Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, March 15, 2018

BUSINESS: One regular coffee shop visitor has noticed an increase in the number of people using cafes as a place to conduct business and talk loudly on their phones.

BUSINESS: One regular coffee shop visitor has noticed an increase in the number of people using cafes as a place to conduct business and talk loudly on their phones.

OUR morning ritual is to go for a walk for exercise and to enjoy a cup of coffee with a possible relaxing read of the morning newspaper (Newcastle Herald of course).

We are now finding, most days, an increasing and annoying amount of business-type people using the cafes to conduct their business. Anything from job interviews, to group meetings, to single operators using both laptop and mobile phone talking (sometimes rather loud) to VIPs somewhere in the world.

My letter is prompted from this morning’s experience of a male and female taking a large share of two tables to loudly discuss the trends, falls and percentages of their business interest from two laptops and numerous files. We found this very disturbing and completely over the top.

I know there are no rules about who has the right to sit and have coffee, and we could always change seats. Usually most cafes are often small and crowded in the morning so it's not easy to get away from the action. So what can we do to regain serenity?

Here are a couple of ideas that may possibly help the situation. Maybe there are some cafes that could designate an area for business only customers to enjoy their coffee and conduct business. Or maybe there is an opening for some enterprising cafe owner to open a business specialising for these people. I even have a name for the business cafe – it could be called OFFEE COFFEE.

John Fear, Newcastle East    

Where’s Stockton’s help

SO Hunter Development Corporation will put roughly 27,000 tonnes of rock along the shoreline at Lee wharves four and five in works that were expected to take about five months that Michael Cassell says are “important infrastructure to ensure the area’s safety" ('Honeysuckle sea wall works to redirect cyclists, walkers’, Herald, 13/3)

After attending last week's meeting at Stockton and there was no commitment to putting rocks in front of the day care centre, I now find that 27,000 rocks that will take five months to install and will cost a great deal of money considering the timeframe for the works has been earmarked for Honeysuckle.

A reader from Merewether in Short Takes last week stated if Stockton's problems were on a beach to the south of the harbour then it would have been fixed yesterday (Short Takes, 10/3). This, sadly now seems to be the case with the new works scheduled for Honeysuckle (which has no immediate catastrophe happening) and Stockton, where a child care centre will drop into the ocean in the next big storm or two.

It would seem that your postcode directs where money goes, unfortunately.

Phillip Mallows, Stockton

Take responsibility, now

BOB O’Toole is generous in his description of the public spat between Christian Porter and Archbishop Denis Hart regarding the long-awaited redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse (‘Survivor calls for goodwill’, Herald, 13/3). He calls it “dispiriting”.

I would suggest it is self-indulgent. If they cannot get on the same page after three years they need to get out of the way.

The only detail that matters is whether the institutional church is prepared to take responsibility for the damage done to the children in its care.

This foot-dragging by Archbishop Hart is a sad reminder of the so-called Melbourne Response that was distinguished by a less than generous history in the care of survivors.

Mark Porter, no relation, New Lambton

Memories of Comsteel

I KNOW that my mother’s brother, Tom (Tommy) Pritchard would have been most interested in the Herald article about Comsteel and its centenary celebrations (‘Comsteel’s 100th birthday’, Herald, 13/3).

Tommy travelled to work there in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s by bus. Someone would have had to read the article to him because Tommy was illiterate. My mother used to help him out with forms and banking. I remember him signing with an “X”. 

Tommy wasn’t that interested in school, besides the family moved around a lot after cheap rental accommodation so his formal education was haphazard. His dad, my grandfather (also Tom), couldn’t settle after returning from the Great War until they moved to Speers Point. 

Grandfather loved to fish and living on the lake brought stability to the family and good free meals of mullet, flathead and bream. Tommy eventually moved to Cardiff and could be seen walking the streets with a sugar bag slung over his shoulder. He enjoyed a drink at the Iron Horse.

Tommy spent the last years of his life in a caravan at Harrington with his partner of later years, Joy.

Precious memories. Thank you. 

Julie Robinson, Cardiff

Vandalism of valley

I HAVE lived in the Hunter Valley for the whole of my 70 years.

I could not have asked for a better place in the world to be born and bred. I know we have to have progress but the way things are going at breakneck speed has to stop. What the government and councils are doing to this once beautiful valley and the rest of Australia is nothing short of vandalism.

In the last 20 years and especially the last 10 year they have turned this country from the best place in the world to live into a sewer. Have a good look at what is going on around you people, at least the ones who care about the legacy we are leaving our children.

There will be nothing for them. The revitalisation of Newcastle has been a complete failure. How many units and people do you think can be jammed into such a small area at the top of Newcastle?

My 2.5-year-old granddaughter could have done a better job of planning with her Lego set. Where is all the open space? As for Maitland and surrounding areas, just keep putting the farmland under housing.

The immigration to this country has to be cut dramatically. We are already 15 years ahead of what our population should be at this time.

I care about the future of our children and grandchildren. There is no way they are going to afford a home. By the way, where is all the extra water, power and infrastructure going to come from for all the extra people that are being jammed in here?

It's about time the people who are making these poor decisions and putting this country in a bigger mess are held accountable.

Melville Brauer, Gateshead

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