FORMER lord mayor Jeff McCloy was spot-on when he highlighted the looming problem of a lack of parking in the city’s CBD (‘Cars parked’, Newcastle Herald, 3/9).
As a long-term resident of Scott Street, a civil engineer and former dean of engineering at the University of Newcastle, I have been appalled at recent decisions taken by our city planners to reduce the number of car parking spaces.
The proposed city campus for the university is but one of a growing number of instances of “a social experiment against the car”, to quote the former lord mayor. Mr McCloy also mentioned major shortfalls in the design of the light rail route: “nobody in their wildest dreams thought they would take out all of the parking and all of the loading zones”. This particular decision was short-sighted in the extreme.
The problem will be most acute in those zones along the route where vehicle traffic must share the lanes occupied by the tram. How on earth will pick-ups and deliveries be made, and how will essential services such as garbage collection be conducted for residences and businesses along those sections of the route?
But what I consider the conspiracy against the car goes beyond these projects. For example, a recent development application for the former Great Northern Hotel, also located on the route of the light rail, was approved with more than 80 single-bedroom residences and a roof-top restaurant without a single on-site car park, and now with no possibility of parking anywhere along Scott Street within cooee of the former hotel.
Any transition to a car-less society, if at all warranted, should be gradual. The current madness, “based on ideology not practicality” must stop.
John Carter, Newcastle East
IT’S BECAUSE OF THE EFFECT
IN REPLY to Carl Stevenson (Short Takes 3/9): no-one has ever said people can control the climate. The supreme, unquestionable authority and US government body, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's information is that we are seriously affecting climate.
Though we would be heading into another ice age, the planet is heating 20 times faster than when it came out of the last one. When you are the cause, then you can act. Change like this cannot be controlled. Grimy, filthy fossil power is burned at the rate of 35 billion tonnes a year, or 650,000 Sydney Harbour bridges.
Climate change always means the end of species. We are right in the firing line, as our food systems rely on stability. As a measure of how badly this is affecting us, a continuing study shows wave patterns in Antarctica has changed beyond recognition. Absorption of phenomenal amounts of energy does this. Climate influence is like big people playing with matches. It's not on.
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
WIND UP THE TURBINE TALK
MY LETTER about the wind farm blight on our landscape outside Goulburn (Letters, 30/8) drew two responses, neither of which in my opinion offered any meaningful information.
One response from Chris Peters (Letters 31/8) wondered if I got out much, and another from Richard Mallaby (Letters 3/9) offered opinions on what other people “would” say. Not much help.
For the record, I get out quite a bit and have seen these propellers right across the coastline at the bottom of South Australia, at the other side of Lake George, up towards Tamworth and other locations. In each and every case they are ugly and ruin our landscape. I make no apologies for loving the Australian bush and do not see the need for these things, and no one has been able to properly answer my simple questions.
An article in Monday’s Herald (‘A totally renewable future is within reach’, Opinion 3/9) about Yackandandah and its adoption of solar energy from roof panels to run the town seems a more sensible idea than planting wind turbine towers all around the Australian countryside.
Also, I think recent articles about Newcastle university’s paper thin sheets of rooftop solar panels (‘Printing power’, Herald 30/8) is another great example.
As a kid originally from the bush in the 1950s and growing up in Sydney suburbs my recollection of seasons, droughts, floods, storms and bushfires is that they sometimes vary in intensity and they come and go.
The only thing that has changed dramatically is the way they are reported.
John Mildwater, Caves Beach
HOPE GOES BEYOND THE POPE
AS A Catholic I have been gladdened by recent writings of Pope Francis's response to the crimes of abuse on young people by members of the Catholic Church, other religious areas and by prominent members of the community.
I attended church, as well as having spent seven years at boarding school run by Mercy order nuns. My family had a Catholic priest as a personal friend, as well as their priest who would occasionally spend the rare weekend in our home. In all those years I was never aware of inappropriate conduct to myself, my brother or my two older sisters, or by any of the Mercy nuns caring for us.
I truly feel ashamed of the conduct by these certain members of the church, be it Catholic or Protestant, and I believe they should be stripped of their orders to receive punishment or mental treatment for the abuse given to innocent children.
Now Pope Francis has been reported to have been made aware of these crimes, I again address the area of compensation to the victims. Some years ago, at the time of sale of Catholic property in the Hunter area, I suggested that instead of punishing the community by removing Catholic facilities that the compensation, to victims of abuse by Catholic persons/institutions, be funded by the Vatican.
The Vatican, residence of the Pope, is well known to be rich in resources. Why then can't these resources be used to compensate victims of the Church? Our Pope Francis teaches humility, humble living and renouncing of the riches of living.
I believe as the head of the church our Pope Francis allow the Vatican to step forward to own responsibility for the crimes of its priests.
Falling away from the church is not the answer. The crimes were not the crimes of the religion but by the weak, tormented minds and acts of mere members of the church. My belief is to remain true to my faith, to seek justice for the victims and to support my religion as needed. I do believe in the basics of faith, hope and charity to give grounding for a good life for all.
May Pope Francis allow the strength of his faith to give hope to victims of the church by charitably using the wealth of the Vatican to compensate the suffering of the children.
Elizabeth Montgomery, Swansea
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