Lantern sparks

Lantern sparks

Lismore can be proud of the many festivals and events it hosts and the Tropical Fruits NYE celebration and the Lantern Festival are both significant Lismore events. It therefore saddened me to read the comments made by B Parker criticising Lismore Council funding the Lantern Festival and not Tropical Fruits (Echo, March 6).

Both events came from humble beginnings and grew into local, national and international events from the hard work and commitment of a few good people. Tropical Fruits is a celebration by the gay and lesbian community in a safe and friendly environment, as well as a significant fundraiser for ACON. It attracts large numbers of locals and visitors from around the country and internationally (not only gay and lesbian) and is able to collect substantial revenue from ticket sales and stalls at the event. This allows it to be self funding and it therefore does not need funding from Council.

The Lantern Festival is a free community development event that brings together people from the surrounding district, other parts of Australia and also from other countries. Each year the organisers celebrate a new theme that maintains the common thread of living in harmony and community-building. Because there is no admission charge the festival requires public funding and, given that 25,000 people attend the festival, many taking part in it, the public funding equates to about $1.50 per head.

Both events are economically important to Lismore in generating significant activity and excellent promotion of Lismore nationally and internationally. However, they are different events with different objectives and should not be seen as competing.

Cr Ros Irwin

Lismore

Poor charity

I was saddened to read your report on the mean-spirited reaction from somecouncillors at Tuesday nights Lismore City Council meeting, as to the kind and generous suggestion put forward by Cr Ros Irwin to donate $80 to a female Cambodian local government politician for a bicycle (Echo, March 13).

As to the comment Charity should begin at home , I have a Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary published in 1965 in Britian that defines charity as Christian love of fellow men, liberality to the poor, a bequest for the benefit of others, especially the poor or helpless.

People in Cambodia could be classified as poor, and nowhere did I read anything about where charity should be distributed, at home or elsewhere.

Maybe the 12 councillors could donate $6.66 each out of their own pockets to send to Cambodia for this innovative and thoughtful suggestion to help others in our world, which is not just the priority ofRotary or Lions clubs.

June Crawford

Koonorigan

Rainbows mend

I enjoy Jim Lees punch-ups with religion, theyre always good value (Echo, March 13). But, unlike Jim and others, Im not against religion as such.

It gives consolation, not to mention an explanation of the meaning of life, for people who cant get those any other way. So why object?

Anyhow, its their business, as long as they keep it private, although I find the intellectual cost of buying into supernaturalism much too high.

I recently marched in the 30th Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as a 78er. Id been in the first (illegal) 1978 parade that turned violent.

In this years parade I loved the 100 Revs contingent; ministers and pastors bravely saying sorry for the harm the church has cruelly inflicted on gays and lesbians.

Their apology included: the church has often been profoundly unloving toward the GLBT community. For these things we apologise.

Thats been 2000 years coming; we hope its real. Next, the top people councils, assemblies and synods of every religion in this country should do likewise.

Im fool enough to think its not beyond the religious communities of the Rainbow Region to now kick-start that process of apologising to us. How about it?

After 200 years of oppression weve learned a lot including patience and hope. I reckon we can wait a bit longer for justice.

Lee Andresen

East Ballina

Thank you

I wanted to thank Norco and Farmer Charlies for their kind donations to the International Womens Day event held at Bangalow on Saturday, March 8.

Wed also like to thank the many wonderful volunteers who assisted in the kitchen, on the information stalls, with the parking and decorations and those who gave their time to run workshops on the day. International Womens Day this year recognised 100 years of paid and unpaid work for women and the celebrations in Bangalow were attended by women from the whole region and turned out to be a wonderful event. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this day special.

Kieryn Deutrom

Regional Co-ordinator

Northern Rivers Womens Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme

Stick to strategy

The Lismore Rural Housing Strategy 2002 (LRHS) was written and accepted by Council. This document identified McLeans Ridges as an area that could potentially be developed for rural residential housing. This constituted an opportunity for landholders and developers to present development plans to Council and the community for approval.

In addition to identifying this potential development opportunity, the LRHS gave some specific guidelines as to how any development should occur.

These guidelines were intended to provide some reassurance for the existing residents of McLeans Ridges that their community would continue to maintain the characteristics that have, to date, constituted its appealing character. In these guidelines it is stated:

Sections of Boatharbour Road, Camerons Road and Cowlong Road will require upgrading. Direct vehicular accesses to these roads should be precluded and the number of new road connections minimised.

It is notable that a development plan for Camerons Road at McLeans Ridges on display for community comment permits 19 new driveways and three new intersections to access Camerons Road over a distance of less than 1km.

This plan is therefore in direct conflict with the guidelines set out in the LRHS. This point has been repeatedly brought to the attention of Council executives and Council, and yet it has been approved for public exhibition.

To ignore these guidelines is a direct betrayal of the existing residents

of McLeans Ridges and therefore the electorate which has delegated community responsibilities to the elected honorable councillors of Lismore City.

Please be honorable, councillors. Permit the electorate to rely on the LHRS as adopted by Lismore City Council. Do your honorable duty and instruct developers to present a development plan for public comment that precludes direct vehicular access to Camerons Road.

John Mulholland

Mcleans Ridges

National shame

It is a shame two gentlemen of the National Party were personally affronted by my political comments about the relevance of the National Party, particularly at the federal level.

Those comments were merely reflecting feedback I received while campaigning and since becoming the Member for Page from constituents who had felt badly let down by a lacklustre kind of representation in recent years.

Former Nationals leader John Anderson, who is chairing a review of the party, candidly told The Australian last November that former prime minister John Howard and former treasurer Peter Costello had a little bit of tendency to ignore whats happening with the third party (the Nationals). It was a case of out of sight, out of mind, Mr Anderson revealed, which underlines my point about relevance.

Current Leader Warren Truss and State Member for Lismore Thomas George also might consider the latest advice of three lions of the old Country Party Doug Anthony, Ian Sinclair and Peter Nixon that the Nats must merge with the Libs or risk withering away on the political vine.

Mr Truss last week branded me as a hard-left former MLC as if I had committed some crime. If that means working hard for the country people left behind by the Howard/Vaile Coalition, then I am relaxed and comfortable with the tag.

Janelle SaffinFederal Labor Member for Page

Take guard

Conscience and shame are the primary guardians of morality at an ordinary worldly level; they are the means of rejection of greed and anger and should not be disparaged. In the case of cricket, greed would threaten when, despite the uncertainty of the umpire, the batsman knows he is out but is tempted to accumulate more runs; when he walks, he rejects greed. If a batsman does that on a regular basis, then greed will eventually cease to arise on that occasion; that long-term strategy can be applied by beings in other problematic situations. Conscience and shame from self-respect and respect for others.

P Griffin

Lismore

Care neededLismore

Council recently undertook road repairs just up over the crest of the hill north of Fraser Road. They took down a road sign I had erected a few years ago Concealed Driveway Over Crest. I went to a lot of trouble to get the sign erected with a signed petition from more than 50 residents, neighbours and farm workers. The entrance to my residence is extremely dangerous when cars, 4WDs and trucks come hurtling over the hill towards Dunoon. I have nearly been cleared up several times.

I rang Council to re-install the warning sign but it is too late for my mini-foxy little Scottie dog, who was killed near my driveway a few weeks ago. I miss him dearly. Id like to say thank you to the man who came to my house to tell me he was dead and hed buried Scottie dog under a pile of woodchips on the fenceline. I was so grateful for your actions as I had planned to ask a worker on the farm to scoop up the woodchip pile and put it on my garden once the weather fined up. I wouldve been devastated to find Scottie dog amongst it all. Once again thank you for taking the time out to inform me about Scottie dog; you did a good thing.

Could all road users please take care coming over the crest of the hill. Next time it could be a person who gets hit.

Jane Johnson

Clan Macadam

Dunoon

Budget now

Lismore residents have only until March 28 to make submissions for Lismore Councils budget.

Dont get your hopes too high. Reckless spending over the past few years has left Lismore with heavy debt levels that now have to be repaid.

Worse still, our basic infrastructure is deteriorating (as if you didnt know).

Consultants have told Council it needs to spend $7.3 million a year, every year, to keep our sealed roads in a satisfactory condition.

Council spends only $5.1 million.

In addition Council has to address a backlog of sealed road repairs amounting to $79 million.

On one estimate this backlog may be cleared in 395 years.

The unsealed road network is also in an appalling state.

The wet weather hasnt helped, but Council has not increased the amount it spends on our 400km of gravel roads for many years although costs have been rising at more than five per cent.

This means that since 2002 real spending on gravel roads has fallen by over 30 per cent.

Thats why we have falling levels of maintenance and bone-jarring and dangerous roads for rural residents.

Why is this so?

Although the NSW Government allows Council to increase rates each year to cover higher costs, Council has been using this extra money to fund borrowings for new projects at the expense of existing services.

If you want to make a submission you can do so on Councils website at www.lismore.nsw.gov.au or you can contact me.

Cr David Tomlinson

The Channon


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