WHILE having my morning swim at the ocean baths this morning I took the opportunity to closely examine the rear of the facade that is shown as an iconic photo of Newcastle.
The neglect (or lack of funding) for the upgrade of this structure is appalling. The council was willing to spend millions on an unnecessary skate bowl (as part of the Bathers Way project), but is apparently quite willing to let the baths deteriorate to a nearly unrepairable state.
I believe this building must be restored to its original state, but don’t let those responsible for the Nobbys dressing shed renewal fiasco anywhere near it. The coats of paint and minor structural repairs carried out so far have in my opinion been akin to putting lipstick on a pig. We deserve better.
John O’Brien, Merewether
FIGHT FOR UNDERSTANDING
I USUALLY haven’t got much time for politics and the vocal minority demanding this and that including the yearly debate surrounding the 26th of January, we are all proud Australians and should celebrate living here. But then I got to thinking what if things were different and we were occupied after World War II. How would we feel if they insisted on celebrating the day of their landing? Diggers would roll in their graves. I can understand some who have a problem with January 26th and do think we should protect our heritage but we need to choose a date to include everyone.
January 26 gives some no choice but to exclude them, and you can’t blame them.
Vic Cochrane, Mayfield West
A SHOT IN THE DARK
THE frustrations being expressed by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) concerning the failure of the state government to release the study into extensions to the light rail network (‘Delay in the firing line’, Newcastle Herald, 2/2) are understandable.
However, considering the record this government has for hiding studies no-one should be surprised.
One has to ask why SFF trusted the government when they supported formal closure of the railway. I think it would be fair to say the studies would not be favourable to the policies of this government, or they have not been done at all. In any case, people have a right to ask what's going on. Most would agree that extensions will have to be made if the light rail is to be viable. So if a study has been done, why has it not been released?
I would have thought it would be a good idea, as part of such a study, to call for submissions from the public so the powers that be would know where to build the lines; but no, they couldn't do that. It was bad enough that they closed the railway into the city. Then we were made to wait nearly three years for the interchange at Wickham and over four years for the light rail. They should have been built and ready to be connected before the railway was closed.
This state government has built itself a reputation for getting it wrong when they are saying they are getting things done. The failure to release this study has only enhanced their reputation.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
ANECDOTES AND EVIDENCE
DR Mary McMillan may be a concerned research scientist (‘Brilliant beauty and a melting melancholy’, Herald, 29/1) but in my view she appeared to leave her scientific skills behind when she went for a holiday to Antarctica, courtesy of Homeward Bound.
She states: "Climate change is real and I have seen it … first hand". I believe that's a totally unscientific and silly thing to say, sort of like saying that it’s been hot today so I've seen proof of climate change.
I believe her claims about Antarctica are not true, given she visited the Antarctic peninsula. A study published in 2017 showed that the peninsula is getting colder not warmer. A 2015 study by NASA reported that Antarctica is accumulating more snow and ice than is being lost by some thinning glaciers. It has been well known that sea-ice around Antarctica has been increasing for some decades. Some people may wish to visit Antarctica before the ice all melts away. It may be more prudent to visit Antarctica before it becomes too iced-in to make landfall.
Peter Devey, Merewether
LOW BLOW, THEN LOGO GOES
WOULD I be “muck raking” if I said how surprised I am that the former Newcastle council logo, which was designed by a team including John Church was replaced so soon after the regrettable incident at the council’s Shoal Bay conference last weekend when some coward anonymously called Cr Church a “f...wit” on a large screen in the room (‘Swear blind’, Herald, 5/2)?
This understandably offended the councillor, and his hurt was compounded by lord mayor Nelmes’ response to his complaint.
I quite like the former logo, which Cr Church once told me draws inspiration from the Civic Park fountain. Obviously, other people liked it too.
In my opinion the new one (‘New council emblem for ‘inclusive’ city’, Herald 7/2) looks like 60 seconds of colour pencilling by a four-year-old. No doubt it had been in the planning for a while, but could the timing of its unveiling be a further indication of the council’s dislike for John Church?
City leaders may want Cr Church to feel less useful, but with me it has had the opposite effect.
Ray Dinneen, Newcastle
BUILD A BETTER PICTURE
I AM writing in response to the article about Greens wanting to reintroduce public building certification (‘Private certifiers must go’, Herald 6/2). The article contains several completely unchallenged claims against the private certification industry that reflect a failure to understand the legal role and functions of certifiers.
Private certifiers are public officials, and often local small businesses, who pride themselves on acting in the best interests of the public. Their responsibilities and obligations are the same as for certifiers employed by local government.
The overwhelming majority of private certifiers do the right thing by the community and play a crucial role in the safe provision of housing and other construction across NSW. The overall level of complaints is tiny compared to the hundreds of thousands of approvals each year.
Criticism of private certifiers often comes from fundamental misunderstandings of their role and responsibilities in the construction industry. While there are significant issues in the construction industry, these stem from a lack of accountability across the entire industry. Ill-informed commentary from elected officials does nothing to address these issues.