Letters to the editor March 10 2018

BIG CHANGES: Reader Phil McKnight argues residents' objections have not been heard regarding Newcastle City Council changes to Cooks Hill streets in recent weeks.
BIG CHANGES: Reader Phil McKnight argues residents' objections have not been heard regarding Newcastle City Council changes to Cooks Hill streets in recent weeks.

JOHN Barnes (“Council on one-way street to urban vandalism”, Opinion, 20/2) presents a considered and lucid argument against the systematic and ongoing destruction and de-greening of inner city streetscapes by Newcastle City Council. 

Newcastle City Council have form. Residents of Carrington and Cooks Hill have now witnessed the readiness of council to attack the streets where they live with chainsaws and chippers. 

With the removal of the road block in Council Street, they state that there will be a few more parking spaces in a suburb which is already congested with cars. The council have made not one concession to the requests of locals. Maintenance of the roadblock, appropriate trees, installing electricity lines underground: these are not up for negotiation with the citizens who live in the street. 

This is about proper representation of citizens, firstly by elected councillors, and then by the administrative and project arm who have shown themselves in this instance to be not only unresponsive to residents but also apparently blissfully unaware that they are intentionally damaging the identity, image and sense of place of a residential suburb where people conduct their lives.

Phil McKnight, Cooks Hill 

IT’S A SIGN A TRIM IS DUE

ON a trip to the North Coast it was disappointing to see so many Roads and Maritime Services  direction signs are really difficult to read, and in many cases impossible, because of tree growth around them.

With many towns such as Macksville, Nambucca Heads and Urunga now bypassed, the M1 and Pacific Highway have a lot of signs directing people into them that are not of much use if they can’t be seen a fair distance before the turn-off.

The worst section seems to be from Grafton to Macksville, where a "fixed speed camera ahead" sign southbound near the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour was impossible to see until you are right next to it. 

I realise it's a big job to keep all the trees trimmed over such a long stretch of road, but surely the RMS staff who travel on these roads must notice the situation and should let the correct department know so that the worst cases could be attended.

Ian King, Warners Bay

ROADS IMPEDE AT MAITLAND

WHAT will it take for the state government to concede there is a problem with the peak hour functioning of the Maitland railway/Church Street roundabout?

Does a school bus diverting from the New England Highway into the 25km/h Maitland Park to rejoin Cessnock Road not cause concern for the ministers for transport and roads? Unfortunately, the conga line gets more concerning with utes towing trailers through the park and a growing procession of driver-only cars and four wheel drives.

The bus, trailer towing utes and impatient drivers are passing a day-care centre, public swimming pool where parents are taking toddlers and young children for learn-to-swim classes and shortly netball resumes in this sport and family-friendly public park.

The problem mainly exists during the weekday morning and afternoon peaks. Maybe it’s now time to investigate removing the roundabout and installing traffic lights to better regulate the flow.

Ministers, please give RMS the money needed as soon as possible to investigate and resolve this problem.

To those advocating a westbound overpass, I suggest anyone wanting to resume part of Maitland Park for that purpose think long and hard before they advocate taking on the families who regularly enjoy it.

Maitland also has other, more immediate traffic priorities to address including Testers Hollow and preferably making Buchanan Road and Mount Vincent Road a four-lane highway from the Hunter Expressway to the new hospital.

Garry Blair, Telarah

BUILD US A BIG KANGAROO

LISTENING to ABC radio early this morning I learned to my surprise that the world’s third most recognisable icon after the Statue of Liberty (first) and the Eiffel Tower (second) is the Australian kangaroo.

Newcastle is emerging as a tourist destination, so why not really put Newcastle on the map by building a giant kangaroo, say 100 metres high, in King Edward Park? This could be adjacent to and combined with the museum proposed by Keith Suters both on and under the old bowling club site. It could be the draw card to make the new complex an international success.

The kangaroo could be the internationally recognisable feature to draw tourists to the deck of all the cruise ships passing by, and hopefully be the magnet to attract them to visiting the museum. The inside of the kangaroo would have an elevator and a structural stairway gallery of Australian bush and animal pictorials, with an opening at joey’s pouch for a cable car that descends to the beach with unequalled scenery to be experienced on the way down. For the more adventurous climbers there could be the ultimate view out of the kangaroo’s eyes to take in the breathtaking views up the coast.

Where else in Australia is there a better place to show this icon and the space is already available? With local politicians getting behind this iconic project to attract government money for the kangaroo, I am sure that private enterprise could be found to erect and operate the cable car.

John Yates, Belmont

HOW IT GOT IN THE ZONE

I WAS intrigued to read of Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison’s renewed outrage over the Whitebridge development (“Lake MP outraged over DA revival”, Herald 7/3).

I understand the land in question was rezoned at the council meeting of March 14, 2011, with the adoption of Amendment 53 to the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2004, which changed the zoning from infrastructure to residential (urban living) and urban centre. 

Referring to records from the time, it was interesting to note the councillors who voted for this rezoning, which has allowed the development to occur. The motion was moved by Cr Laurie Coghlan, and seconded by Cr Phillipa Parsons (of the Greens/Whitebridge Community Alliance), with (then) Cr Jodie Harrison (now Charlestown state MP), Cr Kay Fraser (now mayor), and Cr Greg Piper (now Lake Macquarie state MP) all voting for the rezoning to occur.

Kevin Baker, Lake Macquarie councillor

LETTER OF THE WEEK

THE pen goes to Dorothy Pinder for her letter about the tourist information centre. 

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