I WAS wondering why there hasn't been more coverage on the plight of the Regal cinema with the potential development in Birmingham Gardens. This is something that may seem like an innocuous suburban renewal item for council, but its impacts are much broader throughout the Birmingham Gardens community and Newcastle.
From the outside, it feels like there's not a lot going on in Birmingham Gardens besides the cottage industry of university housing, older settled residents and young families. It doesn't have much of a shopping centre as it is bounded by Jesmond and Shortland. It does, however, host a cinema six days a month. The Regal has become its own community. Volunteers that help George and Jo run the cinema were honored in Sharon Claydon's volunteer awards just two years ago, a testament to the bond that George and Jo foster, but also the love of good cinema, community, and of something that is uniquely precious and requires constancy of support to continue.
George, in his introductory monologues for the films he is presenting, frequently makes jokes about 'Booming Downtown Birmingham Gardens'. The shopfront next door has seen many tenants in the few years of the Regal's revival, and even more days as an empty building awaiting a future.
The Regal is downtown Birmingham Gardens, and it is booming.
The council may feel that the update to the pathways and gardens at that little corner of the city is necessary for the update of Birmingham Gardens, but it risks taking something vital from us.
The cinema is beloved by many, and the passion it induces in its visitors makes for many repeat visits. It is a place I take any visiting family member, and it is the only cinema my wife and I will attend. It is simply that important.
Samuel Vijay Pierce, Adamstown
DRIVE-IN DREAM AT RISK
I AM one of the many Hunter residents who enjoys regular visits to The Regal cinema. To me it is more than a movie theatre, it is a place of welcome, inclusiveness, fun and cultural enrichment.
Apparently there is a proposal, by Newcastle City Council, to reduce the number of car parking spaces in the adjacent car park from 38 to 17. The car park and cinema are generally full at all sessions.
Standing in the jovial line-up to get into the cinema before a show, you discover there are patrons from all over the Hunter and Lake Macquarie. Reliable public transport is just not a viable option for many.
My family and I are fortunate to be able to park in the next street and walk to the cinema, leaving the car space available for those less able. If the proposal by Newcastle City Council to reduce the number of car parking spaces from 38 to 17 goes ahead, I think it will mean patrons have nowhere to park. This will result in a drop in patronage and may mean The Regal Cinema has to close down after all the hard work to get it up and running again.
I have made a submission to Newcastle City Council, I have written to my elected councillors in my ward and I will be attending a council meeting on September 18 where this will be discussed. I encourage all those who love The Regal to do likewise.
Francesca Davy, Merewether
A BLIGHT ON CITY SITE
I HAVE just come back from my walk. On my way I passed Christie Place. It is a lovely little park between two of the city's most elegant buildings, Nesca House and the City Hall. There are flower beds there and a diagonal walkway with a one hundred year old sandstone fountain in the centre.
I was upset to see that an ugly green box of a substation has been put there in a prominent spot destroying the beauty of the place. I can only call this urban vandalism by the local electricity company.
There is already a much larger substation at the back of the park put there in the 1950's I think. It is discretely placed in a back corner and disguised by clever paintwork that looks like sandstone cladding. When that was built obviously the designers were conscious of the location and its aesthetics.
I live in hope that someone will advise me that this blight is only there temporarily (like the road widening) and will be removed when the stone work restoration on the western side of the City Hall is completed.
Kevin Harrison, Newcastle
TURBINE TALKING POINTS
SOME answers for John Mildwater (Letters 30/8). The AEMO who manage the national electricity grid would say you were viewing just one of many wind farms being installed across rural Australia that now provide the cheapest electricity to the grid, with better reliability than ageing coal fired stations. One past (and the current) president of the National Farmers Federation would add they are a form of renewable energy that must become a major part of our energy generation if we are to avoid the worsening droughts and rising temperatures that come with climate change. Rural communities would say their construction and operation brings wealth to their towns, and farmers whose properties accommodate them would say they provide then with vital income which is independent of droughts.
The AMA could add that by reducing the mining, transport and burning of coal, they reduce fine dust induced respiratory diseases, saving millions in health costs. The federal government might say nothing, or imply all the above are wrong.
Take your pick.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
WE CAN’T CONTROL WEATHER
I FIND it amusing that people have self-belief that climate change is real, and we the human race can control its path of destruction or destiny by spending lots of money on counter-measures.
Considering the climate has been changing since the beginning of time as the Earth has evolved , l would suggest reference to change should include the wording alleged increase in change to actually have any meaning. When man can change wind direction, ocean currents, create rain, and stop bushfires from burning fossil fuel, all ingredients which change weather conditions, then and only then will l gladly subscribe to products that control the change.
In the meantime, my money goes into providing products that make life more pleasant with changing weather patterns and conditions .
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
A TRIP AROUND THE SUN
I SEE CHEP will be the world first to use the "chip packet" thin solar panels (‘Printing power’, Herald 30/8). A great first for Newcastle. CHEP was a Brambles company, and Brambles originated in Newcastle. A complete circle, to be congratulated!
Peter Edwards, Bowral
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