Catch 22

Catch 22

I thought Id check and see if the Draft Far North Coast Regional Strategy recently released by the Department of Planning had better maps supporting its proposed development for our region.

The one page maps lack detail, including critical landmarks, and so its not always possible to tell what is to be developed and what is not. While you cant miss large areas such as the Iron Gates Estate at Evans Head (which is slated for urban development in spite of outstanding Land and Environment Court orders relating to its important natural and cultural value), there are smaller areas which are also important that are not clearly marked. The resolution is far too poor.

Ive checked with Planning and there are no detailed maps for the strategy. What you see is what you get.

So how do you comment on something that has insufficient detail to be able to comment: Dear Minister for Planning. Id like to be able to comment on your strategy, but the maps youve provided have insufficient detail to be able to read them. And I cant read the supporting documentation. There is none. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your strategy. Yours sincerely, Captain Joseph Yossarian.

Dr Richard Gates

Evans Head

Dog of a day

Im wondering if any other parents who visit Wade Park in East Lismore are concerned about the growing number of unleashed dogs wandering around where their children play? As a parent to a toddler myself I believe that children and strange dogs do not mix. Children can be unpredictable and so can dogs and I feel that this is a very unsafe environment to be in. We often tell our children not to pat strange dogs on the street as we do not know if they are friendly, and so its unacceptable for people (some of them parents) to let their dogs wander around the playground. There is a sign on the entrance gate actually stating that no dogs are allowed!

We were there last Sunday afternoon and we witnessed at least six dogs wandering amongst the childrens play area, peeing on equipment and poles, and we were not alone in thinking this was disgusting. So on Monday I phoned Lismore City Council to let them know what was happening at the park and I explained to them that I felt if a child was hurt in any way by a dog down there then liability could become an issue not only for the owner of the dog but also for Council for not keeping an eye on the situation. The response I got was that no dogs were supposed to be in the vicinity of the playground at all but hey what can you do? I was told the Ranger didnt work on weekends and so it would probably be best if we packed up and just went home. Why should my family have to leave when we are doing the right thing?

Wade Park is supposed to be a designated safe play area for children, but if irresponsible dog owners are going to continue to let their dogs wander where they please, then it is only a matter of time before someone unfortunately gets hurt.

K Haber


Laboring on

To watch Kim Beazley on The 7.30 Report the other night was to watch a man whose time is up. Hes not the one to lead the Opposition into the next election. If he wasnt such an affable character theyd have got rid of him long ago.

The Labor Party really is in a mess. Its a pity Latham self-destructed because it was a pleasure to watch the smugness drain from Howards face during their occasional confrontations.

The party is haemorrhaging from so many factions, frictions and fractures that theyre (Oops! Nearly said it.) and seem absolutely bereft of genuine policies.

Kims niceness is a handicap together with his habit of never saying anything that matters. He has to step aside and the only legitimate contenders for his position are Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

Gillard is behind the eight-ball. Shes female for a start and has had the audacity to criticise the factional power struggle but shes very articulate and handles herself extremely well in debate, as Tony Abbott knows too well.

Kevin Rudd is shrewd. He also comes over as pretty boring so on both counts that makes him a match for Howard. Hes also a Queenslander. (Aaargh, I suppose nobodys perfect.) Would have to be the front runner.

But times running out for Labor. If Howard should suddenly start telling the truth about about well anything at all, then the electorate will see him for the fraud he is. After all, weve come to expect someone whose word you cant trust. We didnt become cynics by accident, yknow.

Barry Walsh


Bloody over it

Where the bloody hell are you?

Who the bloody hell cares when a total of $180 million was spent on that advertisement when our hospitals and health care and the many other things like trains and other public services are falling apart, or are simply non-existent anymore.

Thanks a bloody lot for caring more about tourism and how much you can make from it while most of us put up with a s!#tload of badly managed and financed facilities aged care and dental care for example.

Is there no sense of balance and fairness left in this country? No longer do we experience a fair go for all.

Whoever okayed the spending of that amount of money on a stupid bloody ad should be drawn and quartered for such wanton waste.

We have a major water shortage crisis but some bright spark wants more tourists to come here.

Then we have the Immigration Department bringing thousands of others here.

What? Tourists and immigrants dont use water, hospitals, health care, trains and other public transport facilities?

Come on people, get real and take a look at the big picture.

Where the bloody hell are your brains?

C Maxwell


Toad rage

Beware your coveted back garden space, for it is no longer safe!

We are being invaded by what must be the biggest ecological disaster this country has known for the last hundred years. I am talking about the unrestricted advance of the devastatingly toxic cane toad. That despicable creature the Queensland Governments CSIRO team imported into the country back in 1935, supposedly to help with the eradication of the cane beetle in northern Queensland, although it was never interested in eating them in the first place.

Did you know that all these toads have evolved from a total of 101 toads imported into the country, which were bred into 6000 individuals, then released into an unsuspecting environment? I do hope those beaurocratic boffins responsible for such a crime have lost sleep over the years when they see the damage they have done. I do hope they have felt heartache when they see the decimation to our fragile wildlife. Can you imagine the destruction when these creatures make their way into our pristine rainforests and biologically sensitive areas?

Surely someone can be held responsible for such a wanton act of destruction? I am quite sure I would be hunted to the ends of the earth if I decided to release say, piranhas, into my dam to eat the cane toads. Although, apparently nothing can eat them they have no earthly predators.

I would like to see truckloads of Queensland toad busters coming around to try and keep in check the great advance. That would be a minimum price to pay for the trouble the toads have and will incur.

One good thing may come out of their presence we may experience a decline in the wretched fox population, another imported terror to these shores.

D Collins


A marathon effort

I would like to thank all of my family, friends and workmates from Summerland House With No Steps, the community of Alstonville and the local media for generously supporting my Pool Marathon on Saturday, March 11. Special thanks to the Federal Hotel in Alstonville who made the pool room available and kept me well supplied with food and drinks from 10am to 10pm, in addition to making a generous donation.

Overall I played more than 60 games of pool, won some and lost some, but most importantly we raised over $3000 for CanTeen, which is enough to fund a weekend camp for 20 young people living with cancer. I think this was a good way to remember my brother Anthony who died of cancer in 2002 aged 17 he would have turned 21 the day before this event.

Id also like to thank those family and friends who travelled to Alstonville from interstate to support me. It was a great day.

Glen Barling


Sick isnt it?

As fluoride is about to be put into my/our water (it is not theirs yet) I find it interesting to note that next month, NSW will hold the worlds first ever conference to combat tactics used by medical companies and groups to boost medication sales. Finally conspiracy theorists and activists the world over are partially exonerated of their supposed collective insanity as the mainstream accepts multinational drug companies lie to sell their wares. As the debate begins on how many drugs are unnecessarily pushed on to our civilian population by these profit mongers of the capitalist world, Id like to ask a very serious question. Is childhood vaccination superior to or merely more profitable than the natural development of the human immune system?

Finally a word for the activists who tried to stop fluoride being introduced to my/our water: God speed in your new campaign to have fluoride removed from my/our water. Keep up the good fight.

Marcus Davis


A draining experience

Id like to know whos responsible for allowing the digging to China along Ruthven Straight and the road off it that goes to Wyrallah.

The depth and sudden incline from the roads, on either side, have made death by drowning a distinct possibility when the drains are full and the risk of more severe injury in the event of an accident when they are dry.

Wheres the space to safely pull off the road if needed?

One abandoned car is already experiencing the great slide to the depths of the bottomless pit.

Narelle Jarvis


A message from management

Valued and esteemed client,

Meeting your needs and addressing your concerns is very important to us.

A client service liaison officer will be here shortly to interface.

Our policy is one of open dialogue, giving you all necessary information, resolving any issues which may arise in a manner easily understood by any reasonable person. Incorporating a synergy of worlds best practices, transparency and accountability, a nexus will be achieved via a pro-active process achieving greater levels of efficiency.

By restructuring, outsourcing, downsizing and rationalisation, productivity will be enhanced, thus maximising return to investors so that the bottom line, at the end of the day, will be moving forward in a manner most agreeable to meeting market expectations.

Thank you for your patience,

The management.


Drop your pants and bend over.

How can we respect you in the morning when we hold you in absolute contempt now.

Youre stupid.

Shut up.

Steve Mills


Global warning

Global warming is all over the news but no-one seems to be spelling out exactly what the implications are, for you, for me and indeed the entire world. Ross Ice Shelf (a chunk of ice slightly larger than France) is cracking, and many scientists believe its due to break off the Antarctic landmass, and melt, in the near future. This will cause the sea levels to rise anywhere between 15-20ft, putting every coastal city in the world underwater (this includes Byron Bay), cause massive food and water shortages, billions of refugees and a systemic breakdown. Changes to greenhouse gas emissions are well and good but, still, it is too late for this. It is not a matter of if, but when. Imminent scientist James Lovelock is publishing a book this year entitled The Revenge of Gaia and at the end of it he makes the suggestion that survival manuals be written and distributed. I believe the public has a right to this information so they can make informed decisions regarding their future. My advice is fear not, take action and create a better world.

Myles Davidson

Global Warning Action Committee


Ten ways to help our kids

We all care for our kids and want them to grow up safe and emotionally strong. So once upon a time we invented government departments to ensure every child has the protection they deserve.

DoCS (Department of Community Services), one such department, was founded to assist families in need and to give children help when things go wrong (thats what we were told). Anyone in the public could make a notification to DoCS which we assumed would then be followed up.

Based on this premise you might have made one of these notifications for that 13-year-old boy next door, who gets hit and screams every night, or for that 16-year-old girl you suspect of getting sexually assaulted.

However, were you aware that it takes more than 10 notifications within a month for DoCS to become active? That means even though you rang DoCS helpline about a possible abuse of a teenager, in actual fact nothing will happen! And if in this month there is no new notification about this person, the file will be closed! (See Ombudsman report on DoCS.)

Please note, this is not a letter about criticising DoCS workers, who do their best under often impossible circumstances. It is heartbreaking to see dedicated and empathic workers burn out. This letter is about informing the public, informing you, so you can make a difference.

Wouldnt it be wonderful if one single notification was enough, especially when there are strong indications, say, of sexual assault?

What a difference it would make if we had a system where personal circumstances rather than numbers (of notifications) dictate what is going to happen and we would know someone skilled was taking appropriate responsibility for a young life? Maybe it is time to question whether well intended organisations can still operate without adequate resources to make the system effective?

Start by making those 10, not one, notifications and encourage others who know about the situation to do the same.

Barbara Schmidt

(Community Connections NSW)

Croc, gators and global warming

Following on from Susan Stocks article in The Echo (March 2) about the UK Government report warning of dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions, I would first like to state that the following information isnt folly, but it is based on research that I have been formulating for some time now. It is also nice to see that all walks of life here in Northern NSW have encouraged me on my mission to educate the wider community in Australia, Canada and the States on the details included in my following hypothesis. Crocodylus porosus is moving south and we had better ready ourselves to facilitate its needs, considering it is we as a human species that has more than likely caused the atmosphere to warm thus causing the inevitable tropofication of the environment around us.

Crocs wont be the only beasts on the move. The infamous box jellyfish and migrating birds from northern Queensland and Papua New Guinea are sure to be mobile also. So when are they coming? Trends and statistics are debatable as to just how fast average annual temperatures will rise. Considering that ocean temperatures along the southern Queensland/northern NSW coastline have at times reached into the high 20s centigrade (at least in the past five years or so), and as croc numbers at present have exploded to an estimated 80,000 in tropical Australia, we will at least see a few salties wandering south over the warmer months within the next five to 10 years in search of prey and habitat. Apart from the diverse and negative implications due to the pressure of coastal urbanisation and industrial impacts, winters at present are far too cold to facilitate this very tropical reptiles physiological and biological needs. Many other environmental factors will hamper the actual colonisation of crocodiles, including a lack of suitable riparian zone nesting sites and perhaps a lack of suitable fish and mammal prey species.

But fear not, the tropofication of our subtropical regions is a reality that is occurring right now! Look around you; cock your ear to the evening springtime sky. What birds are migrating south? The diversification of mangrove communities will occur and improve aquatic tropical species adaptation to this southern environment. May I be so bold as to suggest that many of us spend too much time wondering how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are spending time; some look only at the bitumen line transporting us to work and back on a daily basis. Im just gesturing to you all as a community to better understand your environment and ready yourselves to welcome the hordes of animal species that will need refuge as they travel south in search of a home which allows them to survive in changing climates and ecology. We are currently on the threshold of a huge fauna and flora extinction phase. Lets be realistic; get in early now, and instigate yourself a nurturing role as caretakers not hindering discriminators. We should formulate, throughout many areas of society and politics, community driven policies to facilitate natures varying needs. Im not here to spread hysteria, I just want people to be strong and provide for a concerted effort in the protection of wandering species. I speak for the many people who care for the environment, which you and I do not own, but share.

Ian Browne

Nimbin/Darwin Edited for length

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