I DRIVE through King Edward Park and surrounding areas most mornings.
It is concerning to see the number of cars that have turned this glorious part of Newcastle into a free parking station for nearby city office workers.
Parking is at a premium with no parking spots available in the park or surrounding streets for visitors who want to enjoy its facilities or people who want to stop and admire the view after 8.30am on most weekdays.
Parked cars on both sides of the road are acting as a continuous visual barrier and in some cases restrict the flow of traffic due to the narrow passage they leave once parked.
I am interested to know Newcastle council’s intentions for addressing this issue which is only going to escalate once more people move into the city when current building developments are completed.
Damien Biasiol, Merewether
WAITING ON AN ARRIVAL
RECENTLY we drove to the Newcastle Interchange to meet friends travelling from the Blue Mountains for a day visit.
After parking at the Kiss and Ride section we walked into the station and looked for the train arrivals board.
These are usually found within a station displaying arrival times via electronic boards, including delays.
To our disbelief, we could only find departures boards. The printed timetables were also for departures only.
I asked one of the friendly staff if the next arrival was the 10am train from Central and whether it was on time. I was informed it was due in a few minutes.
I asked where the arrivals board was located, and was told that this wasn’t included in the original station design.
Surely if we can have user friendly smart bus timetables in Newcastle it wouldn’t be too much to ask to have a similar system at our brand new main rail station.
Ian Thomas,The Hill
WORDS CAN TRULY HURT
THE article on John Church (‘Swear blind’, Newcastle Herald, 5/2) reminded me of a course I attended in the 1980s. The only female member present was a Sergeant Bev Lawson, later to become an Assistant Commissioner in the NSW Police Force. One of the male members used that expression and apologised to Bev. She said, "I have no real problem with the word itself, but woe betide anyone who calls me that". It obviously has a greater impact on the person to whom it is directed, and one can understand Mr Church's feelings on the matter. Personally, I have always thought John Church was anything but one of those.
David Stuart, Merewether
MAMBO FIASCO A WASTE
THE Liberal candidate for Port Stephens was quick to celebrate news that the government has finally decided to return to public ownership the Mambo wetlands site that it sold ‘by mistake’ in 2016 (‘Buyback of Mambo wetlands confirmed’, Herald, 26/11). But what will be the cost of correcting that ‘mistake’?
A negotiated buyback should be made on the basis of the market value of the land. The land’s owner of the Mambo land has twice sought to build on the site and twice been refused by Port Stephens Council, but my understanding is that any offer made will likely assume that the owner has approval for the construction of a dwelling.
That could mean the buyback price is substantially more than the amount the Liberal government received for the land following its sale by ‘mistake’.
That money could buy dialysis machines for local hospitals, but the people of NSW will be deprived because of the Liberal government’s disgraceful ‘mistake’. Will the Liberal candidate for Port Stephens be just as quick to celebrate this outrageous squandering of public money?
Grant Kennett, Corlette
MATCHED PLANS ARE LODGED
WHAT a great result for the Port Stephens community, and indeed the whole state, with the announcement that both sides of politics have committed to keeping the Tomaree Headland site in public hands as reported in the Newcastle Herald (‘Both parties pledge on Tomaree site’, Herald, 5/2).
Despite Kate Washington having campaigned for years for the state government to declare their hand on exactly what they had planned for the site, they refused to respond.
However, with Ms Washington having secured a commitment from the shadow cabinet that a Daley government would ensure the Tomaree headland site will be transferred to the public, the state government came on board and have matched the commitment.
Now steps need to be taken to ensure that there is a plan in place for how the site is to be managed when the last resident of the lodge leaves. Such a plan would inevitably take around two years, which could coincide with the planned closure.
Chris Bastic, Shoal Bay
THE INTEREST NOT ACCRUED
THE banking royal commission results are in, and no-one seems to be very happy with the outcome. Adele Ferguson’s dirge about toothless regulators (‘Don’t expect any change from the banks’, Herald, 5/2) states that “Hayne has given the regulators, particularly ASIC beefed up powers to do its job, but unless ASIC changes its ways it is one more tool that it won't use”.
But Hayne can't give ASIC any powers at all. That's up to the government.
Then there's Crikey (‘Hayne can't turn ASIC watch poodle into an attack dog’, Crikey, 5/2) with more of the same – although, as some wag pointed out in the comments, poodles aren't the wimps this headline makes them out to be. Everyone seems to think nothing much is going to change, and I find this is unbelievable.
Are we so cynical that we believe that the litany of horror banking stories, straight up criminal behaviour, and total lack of ethics uncovered in this truncated, hedged-in royal commission will be effectively discounted? Where is justice for the victims? Where is an extension to the investigation, with special prosecutors to hold the crooks to account? Why isn't the media screaming for such action?
The answers to these questions seem to be, in order: yes, there isn't any, there won't be one, and they’re too busy speculating about the private lives of footballers, the PM's election chances, or My Kitchen Rules.
In an unpublished letter I wrote to you about this topic last year I said “it ought to get permanent, front page, "above-the-fold" exposure … but of course, it won't. There'll be another football game, or a bogan somewhere”. A prophet is without honour.
Barney Ward, Edgeworth
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE Herald pen goes to Matthew Kent for his letter about four-wheel-drives.