Zoned in

Zoned in

Re Julia Mellands letter Give Gbah a go (Echo, Feb 23).

Julia has incorrectly stated that we bypassed the Goonellabah Public School to send our child to a school in East Lismore. Our child goes to Wyrallah Road Public School because this is the school we are zoned to.

Wyrallah Road is a fabulous school which has done a fine job in educating our two older children.

Im sure the Goonellabah school does a fine job as well but as we are zoned to Wyrallah Road and were more than happy with the education our older children received the choice was an easy one for us.

Lynn Kennedy


Letter to Thomas George

Dear Thom,

Can I call you Thom? I heard you had a real sharp sense of humor and when I saw you on Prime TV news I knew it for sure! Fancy you comparing Nimbin to Cronulla; that was a real ripper! Imagine trying to get 10 policeman for Nimbin. Id rather have one doctor that I can make an appointment with and have my annual prostate exam! Wake up and smell the coffee Nimbin needs a bus that runs in the evening to bring our working young home and doctors to keep us oldies running smoothly.

Michael Wright

Mt Nardi

Dirty water

To Vanessa Ekins (Echo, Feb 23).

Dont worry yourself sick about Rous Water pumping out of the Wilsons River to the filtration plant at Rocky Creek and thence to our mains. Im nearly 85 years old and for 50 odd years was given water to drink, my food was cooked in it, and I bathed and washed in it direct from the Wilsons River, no filtration whatsoever. At times the water was so brown with flood mud you could call it tea. Farmers dead stock now and then flavoured it as well. Ask the old ladies of Lismore how they cursed on washing day with the brown water to do the washing. Count yourself lucky we have water. News today that in 20 years or so 25 per cent of the Australian population will be living from Coffs to Harvey Bay. Now that will take some water. Never mind, I wont worry about it.

L Newton


Respectful rules

With regards to the letter of Jim Lee (Echo, Feb 16).

I would agree with some of the points he made but have strong reservations with the generally intolerant attitude expressed.

Freedom of speech is certainly one of the great freedoms, however it should be remembered that no freedoms are absolute. There are, and also need to be, certain strictures regarding the use of free speech. Some words which could offend others, pornographic material and lascivious jokes are examples. Freedoms of all kinds carry with them responsibilities, and there have been laws enacted to make sure that these responsibilities are adhered to.

We cannot legislate on every aspect of human behaviour, nor should we need to. The underlying necessity in order to maintain peace, not only in our society but in the world at large, is respect for all persons, and their beliefs. We may privately think that some religious beliefs and observances are quaint or even absurd, however, to be respectful to others should be the underlying principle, which is after all essential in a cohesive society which calls itself civilised.

William Lowe


Rebuilding our psyche

The two World Wars last century dealt a crushing blow to the human psyche and, from that ravaged perspective, a sick architecture was born.

Youth are blamed for vandalism, but what about the architect who designs these huge blank walls? The similarity between the vandal youth and the vandal architect is remarkable: they both follow an international format and style; only the brave and intelligent will move outside the box and produce work that is different; the result is quite often (not always) damaging to the visual environment.

My intention (Echo, Feb 16) was not to widen the gulf between architect and artist. Working in a symbiotic relationship, both architect and artist could benefit. They could express the true creative nature of the Northern Rivers in a decorative and joyful architecture. This is not incongruous to the requirements of Lismores savvy business community.

Such decorative buildings (examples found in Spain, Germany, Austria, Japan, etc.) cost 5 per cent to 7 per cent more to construct, but command up to 600 per cent occupancy rates (i.e. the demand for their use is 500 per cent above capacity!) Lismore could also become a major tourist attraction!

But how can we change (or modify) this straight-edged, rational and purely functional architecture which has Lismore, and its planning department, in its grip?

Like many social constructs, the built environment is only a barometer of our collective mental health.

Art, or creativity, is a healing process. It connects us to our soul. It brought spiritual context to every architectural movement until the 1920s, and is still a part of all living indigenous cultures.

Last century, art was removed from architecture because we werent ready to heal the damage that that century did to our collective psyche. We are now!

This artless architecture is a symbol of a victim mentality. It denies access to our true creative selves and, consequently, a path to our collective healing.

Todays architects have to deal with that legacy. Yet they cannot do it alone.

Martyn Fox (artist)


Car alarm

The recent killing of six teenagers near Albury has been repeatedly described as an accident by both police and media. Yet had the crime been committed with a gun or by poison, its hard to imagine the media calling it an accident. Obviously the car industry has more influence than the gun or chemical industries.

If the crime had been committed with a gun, or poison, or a hammer, or rope, or a plastic bag, no-one would accept it as accidental. We would expect the gun-owner, or pest controller, or carpenter etc to wear full responsibility for their actions. It would be murder. Yet done with a car, its an accident.

If this is because we all need cars? Remember that half the population survive without them. There are also many other people who need hammers, guns, arsenic, plastic bags etc. Perhaps they should be granted the same immunity from facing murder charges currently enjoyed by motorists.

Then if a carpenter were to kill six teenagers and wound seven others with a hammer, he or she would have a simple defence I had a coupla drinks Your Honour and didnt look where I was hammering. He or she could then expect a six month sentence for Dangerous Hammering and Failing To Stop After An Accident.

Silly me. It wont happen. We cant allow people to be that careless with hammers, or guns or arsenic or plastic bags. Any of these, in the wrong hands, can be dangerous, can be used as a lethal weapon. Murders have been committed with rocks, icicles, snakes, frying pans, shovels, bottles and concrete shoes. Almost anything really. Just not cars.

Michael Hunt


History left alone

There is a concerted move to change the teaching of history in schools. No more dates and facts as they only affect minority groups. A recent letter in The Echo recounted the demonising of a left-handed student in a Christian Brothers school in Melbourne in the early 40s. Sounds like an unusual school.

Almost every Christian Brothers school in those days included a few Irish Brothers, among them, always a few left-handers.

Ever since Glasgow Celtic hit the Scottish football scene it was noted the high percentage of players who kicked with the left foot. The term left-footer came to equate with Irish Catholic.

In the early 40s, boxing had a great following in schools. Almost every boys school of any size had its annual boxing tournament. The lightening fast Irish Southpaw (both real and imagined) has always been a feature of boxing.

Billy Conn, Irish-American, world light-heavyweight champion, a southpaw, fought Joe Louis for the heavyweight title, had it won, went in to finish it and Louis knocked him out in the 13th round.

Should schools be forced to teach a left-handed view of history or would this trigger demands for teaching of a left-footed view of history, or should teaching of history be left as it is?

Eddie Burns


Bad counsel

When is Cardinal George Pell going to get off the Mad Monks back? Now the Feds have found $60 million for counselling against abortion. Where is the counselling for child victims of church sexual abuse? Why is there no money for a National Pensioner Dental Health Scheme?

John X Berlin


Raising voices for reconciliation

In 2007 it will be 40 years since the referendum when we voted to give the Aboriginal people, owner/occupiers of this land for a possible 50,000 years before that, citizenship and the vote. Today land rights are mostly fading into dust; stolen generations continue to search for their country culture and identity and wages earned by them remain mostly unpaid.

Shame on this Lucky Country (lucky who?); Clever Country (clever to dodge the issues and blame the victims?); better not mention the land of a Fair Go (ah... that means fair as in skin colour...? I thought it was good old Fair Dinkum). Well, no risk of us being called the Rapid Action Country!

Reconciliation was the big bang of the millennium that excited us into crossing bridges all around the country in huge numbers, culminating in a grand proclamation that diagnosed our dis-ease and exposed our amnesia and paranoia, to say nothing of our chronic fatigue and attention deficit disorders. It included a prescription of what needed to be done... a prescription that has never been dispensed. What was that Bringing Them Home Report that even moved our politicians to tears? A few placeboes have been tossed around... a few more Aboriginal flags fly in public places and its even cool now, at most events, to toss in a welcome to country.

If this was an emergency and it is, for our first peoples are dying at an alarming rate the inefficiency and lack of response by the emergency services would be the scandal and the headline of the day. Yet it really seems that reconciliation is off the agenda and its been there done that... look at all that exercise we had on those bridges.

Here in Lismore we even established a great choir, Voices Together, and we stood up to be counted (all 40 of us) at over 43 events. I am proud of that and especially proud that we had the Heart of Reconciliation in this town, the late Bundjalung Elder Aunty Fay Smith, with us all the way and that we still sing her songs. However, I am very sad that we seem to have run out of puff no choir leader and a handful of old faithfuls still trying to make like a choir.

Well come on Aussie, come on... you made a commitment when you crossed that bridge.

If you are tired of the issue and want to get on the newest and latest bandwagon, just think what a long time it has taken to get this far for our Aboriginal mates that is. So do it in Aunty Fays memory it is no great sacrifice.

No big ask to come together and sing and get to know one another. Lets start tuning up and putting our Voices Together and get ready for some of the big events that are planned for next years referendum anniversary. And we need a choir leader too. And you can join and support Lismore People for Reconciliation even if you really cant sing.

Ring me on 6624 1926 or email

Judith Light


Fishy business

In June 2002 there was a major fish kill at Salty Lakes in Broadwater National Park. This event was reported in The Echo (July 25, 2002). Richmond Valley Council discussed the matter but a motion that Councils Wastewater Committee be reconvened as soon as possible to discuss the issue, including the upgrading of the Sewage Treatment Plant, was defeated (7-2). Cr Robert Mustow voted against the motion. He is quotedassaying he didnt believe there was such an urgent need and that The EPA is happy with whats going on with the fish kill. Mmmm.

A major bird and fish kill occurred again last December in the same lake with partially treated effluent from the same sewage plant at Evans Head. Havent heard a word from Cr Mustow in the interim except a letter to another paper late last year in which he makes the point with regard to an upgrade of the Evans Head Sewerage Treatment Plant that the longer it is deferred the more it will cost to construct and could leave Council open to fines. Pity the concerned councillor didnt have this view in 2002 when the evidence clearly showed that the STP was the cause of the environmental disaster then (as well as now) and when the problem could have been fixedfar more cheaply. And yes, Council has been fined. In fact, its been fined three times for failing to meet licence requirements (2002, 2004, 2006). Despite statements from Council to the contrary, it doesnt meet licence requirements. Hasnt for years.

Mustowalso asks rhetorically in his December letter, where did they (ratepayers) think the money was going to come from? (for the upgraded plant) if it wasnt going to come from the dramatic rate increase Council imposed last year for sewage. Remember Mustow voted for the increase.

Well, councillor, you should have thought of that in 2002 and put some of the profit raised from the sale of land at Evans Head (millions of dollars) back into a sinking fund for the plant instead of the new council chambers. Or perhaps you were distracted by the large subsidy you and fellow councillors were giving private development at Casino Aerodrome through the mechanism of cheap land and buildings without interest payment for five years? Or perhaps it was the sale of the Evans Head School land? Or even sale of land on the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome to private developers!

The ballot box for local government is now not far away. In the absence of an effective state and federal government thats about the only thing we have left to save us.

Dr Richard Gates

Evans Head

To the rescue!

On February 10 mid-morning, Animal Rights and Rescue Group received an urgent call from a resident at Coraki that completely changed our volunteers daily schedule.

A call from an elderly gentlemen in real trouble needed help. His aged horse had fallen in a ditch and could not get up and was suffering from heat and stress exhaustion from struggling to get up and the gentlemen felt his horse would not last much longer if help didnt arrive. He also wanted to get off the phone and return to his horse so he could continue to keep him cool by pouring water on him.

The ARRG volunteer that took this call was very distressed, as she understood that urgent action was needed. The first call was to the Casino Police and Constable Glen Chapman responded to our call and we thank him for his caring manner. We then called SES with the rescue details and were told they would contact the local volunteer rescue group about the situation.

In the interim ARRG sent three volunteers out to the location at Coraki to assist the gentleman to carry water to the horse to prevent further dehydration.

When our volunteers arrived the Casino VRA people were already well into the rescue operation with all the necessary equipment. Also present were several Casino police officers.

While the old horse suffered minor injuries to his head from a long struggle the rescue was a complete success and after a short recovery time both the old horse and his caring owner were both recovering from an awful ordeal.

ARRG would like to say a huge thank you to the SES and the Casino VRA for responding so swiftly to this rescue call.While ARRG received the call for help we did not have the expertise or equipment to help. We could not have helped this horse without their wonderful service.

We ask the public to support the local SES and volunteer rescue groups in any way you can. None of us know, especially in rural areas, when we may need to call them for help. We cant imagine what would have happened in this case if the SES and Casino VRA had not been so readily available to assist our caller.

Barbara Steffensen

ARRG president

Mob's got ScoMo all worked out

Mob's got ScoMo all worked out

Have ScoMo's scare tactics gone to far?

Strength in diversity

Strength in diversity

Multicultural women's group offers support to newcomers to region

'Together we have achieved a lot'

'Together we have achieved a lot'

Thank you to everyone