Highway worse than water woes

Highway worse than water woes

While we on the North Coast have been worrying and writing letters about the source of our water and whether it will contain fluorides or not, the RTA have been preparing for the final push of the six-lane B-double tollway through our backyards.

This tollway, because of pollution, destruction of native vegetation, and the increase in the speed and amount of traffic, has the potential to be much more serious than our water problems!

The politicians have delayed their final decisions, probably nervous about the next election, so now is the time to let them know how you feel. Take up your pen, phone, or whatever, and let all members of parliament know we want a safe highway mainly on the current right-of-way and without wall-to-wall B-doubles.

Ken Rumsby

Meerschaum Vale

Rotary Park relief

Its a great relief to learn that Lismore City Councils application to disperse the flying foxes from Rotary Park has been knocked back at the state and federal level. Councils proposed action to disperse the flying foxes with noise would have had unpredictable results, with likely wider disruption to residents and their domestic pets as well as distressing the wildlife. Council believed that a couple of weeks of noise and $20,000 would solve the issue at Rotary Park; however this has not been the experience at Maclean. Six years and a million dollars later, the flying foxes there are still attempting to roost in their preferred site.

Council wisely voted at its September 12 meeting to look at how well it has implemented the 1999 Currie Park Plan. Currie Park has been allowed to become overgrown with creeper vines, making it difficult for the flying foxes to roost there. It is likely that some focussed regenerative work there will result in the flying foxes going back of their own accord.

Council also asked for a report on the proposed relocation, which will hopefully involve greater community consultation and lead to better informed decision-making by Council.

As flying foxes are the only known pollinators and seed dispersers of some rainforest trees, the protection and conservation of flying foxes is crucial for the maintenance of our forests.

Lib Ruytenberg


WIRES Northern Rivers

Great name for a lemur

Awards are, too frequently, provided for what turns out to be people of dubious character trying to find a cover for their wanton ways. On a brighter note though, I noticed the wise and wonderful actor and philosopher, John Cleese, was most taken by having a long legged new species of primate, found in Madagascar, named after him.

The name of the little leaf eating lemur avahi cleesei. It has been noted to be the award that has tickled Cleese who, like the lemur, is one of a kind close to extinction?

Kathryn Pollard


Open letter to Kim Beazley

Dear Mr Beazley,

Your policy, or proposal, or whatever it was, to require all non residents arriving in Australia to sign a pledge to adhere to Australian values before being admitted, puts me forcibly in mind of the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade conducted by Colonel Cathcart in Catch 22.

It is hard to find words to describe the sense of frustration and despair I, someone who would like nothing better than to see the back of the Howard Government, felt on hearing this ludicrous suggestion, which seems to me more suitable as material for a Monty Python sketch than a serious political proposal. What exactly is it supposed to achieve? How can you possibly expect to be taken seriously if this is the level of your contribution to the political debate in this country?

As the only current alternative to our present government and Prime Minister please, please try to give me and my like-minded fellow citizens something more worth voting for.

Jonathan Chance


Race to the bottom

Every politician since the dawn of time has resorted to using the race card when in domestic political difficulties. In that sense, John Howard is not much different, however, he has refined it to a dubious artform with the addition of wedge politics tactics.

People like Vanstone, Ruddock and the PM are to be despised for stooping to these new lows.

In my own town of retirement, migrants built and shaped our community. They hand cut cane with the best of the locals and their descendants are proud and revered, solid citizens of the Clarence Valley.

John X Berlin


Vale Brocky and Steve

What a week. Two Aussie icons, gone doing their jobs. You know who Im talking about Peter Brock and Steve Irwin. I think it must be massive bad luck for Australia to have such tragedy all at the same time in the same week. I bet nobody saw this coming. They were great blokes and had outgoing professions that they were extraordinarily good at. Im sure they will be missed for many years to come.

Daisy Aczel Morris (aged 10)

South Lismore

True blue bats

Resident Doug Parkinsons (Bats to remain in Rotary Park for now, Echo, September 14) complaints about the smell of Rotary Parks flying fox colony should reflect on the fact that the bats roost in urban parks because of thedestruction of their traditional sites by land clearing.

Moreover, flying foxeshave a key role in theregeneration of rainforests that produce oxygen andharbour their mosquito-eating microbat cousins. Each microbat can eat up to five hundred insects an hour. So, the mosquito that was on its way to give you Dengue fever may just have been eaten by a mircobat who lives in a home provided by a grey-headed flying fox. Ecologically, grey-headed flying foxes are solid gold andtheirnumbers have declined by around 99 per cent in the past century. Every effort must bemade to ensure they do not decline further. This must be the top priority.

Education and assistance inthe form of double glazing should be a priority for those living next to Rotary Park. As forthesmell, it is redolent of a shearing shed! True blue.

Lawrence Pope


Victorian Animal Welfare Association

Hanson-like overtones

Another senseless rant from Mr Lenon about so called do gooders ruining this country, blaming Helen Coyle for the governments immigration policies and their treatment of asylum seekers who he sees as terrorists hiding away till they can strike at the very heart of our free country.

Thats what Howard wants of course, all of us to feel fearful all the time so he can bamboozle everyone into following his stupid ways. Of course the only people to blame for the mess Australia finds itself in is those in the present government who always seem to want to have a bet each way when it comes to those people coming into Australia. Its not Ms Coyle who entered Bushs war on Iraq, it was Howard. It was not Helen Coyle who has made Australians terrorist targets, it was Howard. It was not Helen Coyle who has made Australia a laughing stock in the world, it was Howard. And if by inference she is a do gooder does that make those who do not agree with her bad doers? All sounds like Pauline Hanson revisited to me.

M Mizzi


Support new no fluoride petition

To all the wonderful well informed and diligent letter writers of the last few months, you are invited to participate in the signature collection and circulation of the new petition opposing artificial fluoridation of our water.

For those ratepayers who havent yet signed a petition, do you realise you will be paying for the future yearly running costs of fluoridation plus a portion of the design costs for fluoridation dosing plants as the NSW Oral Health Department expects local councils to meet these costs?

For your convenience you can print out your own copy of the petition by contacting Rodney at studiopic@yahoo.com.au. The petition will be sent to you and you can circulate it to all your contacts as well.

Copies of the petition are available for pick up and return from Fundamental Foods.

Other places to sign are Music Bizarre, Nimbin Organics, Caddies, Luckys Seafoods in Wyrallah Road and Goonellabah Village Newsagency.

Rodney Hearne

Petition co-ordinator

Intolerable cruelty

The recent retrograde decision by Lismore City Council not to impose restrictions on rodeos, (New rodeo restrictions unnecessary: council, Echo, September 14) is far from visionary or humane, and the Council has lost a golden opportunity to put itself at the forefront of animal welfare.

Councillor Ros Irwin is to be commended for courageously speaking out against the status quo, as are councillors Dowell, Ekins, Tomlinson and Swientek. Rodeos boast to be a romantic part of Australian culture yet they are an American import we could well do without. Such rough handling of stock being detrimental to their health and we have no need to ride bulls. Tormenting animals for sport or amusement has no part in a just society. As we look for role models for our young to have empathy and respect for others, we should not promote activities that endorse the notion that might makes right. Taking passive grazing animals and exploiting their flight response by means of tight flank ropes, spurs, screaming crowds and blaring music, is both unethical and cruel and desensitises the young in our community to the suffering of others. Calf roping of young animals whose bones are not properly formed is a risk to their future development and places them in immediate jeopardy of injury not to mention psychological trauma.

Councillor Peter Grahams assertions that operators werent treating their livestock humanely was a crock of garbage is contradicted by his acknowledgment that sometimes the animals are abused. The fact that an unenforceable code of practice is needed for rodeos to circumvent the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act should be a red flag to our ethical concern as is the fact that events are policed by rodeo supporters. You might as well put Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

Pam Ahern

Willowmavin, Victoria

Shame on Council for Fly-In fiasco

We, like most people, are lost for words and are totally disgusted with the attitude and lack of support from Richmond Valley Council towards the Great Eastern Fly-In at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome,which was to be held over the long weekend of the New Year.

The mayor, management and all councillors have shown total disrespect for this once great training base, which duringWorld War II, trained thousands of young men to fight for their country, 1100 of them losing their lives in this cause.

This event is and has been dedicated to these great airmen and organised by dedicated volunteers.

Richmond Valley Council has spent nothing on maintenance on this icon and has allowed it to deteriorate over the years.

Whenone reads the Deed of Agreement with the Commonwealth Government regardingthe Evans Head Aerodrome, it is questionable how this has been allowed to happen. On the other hand the Council has reaped millions of dollars from the sale of land there. Council has unspeakablehide to be asking ridiculous fees for an event which honours this aerodrome.

We can only say that those who did not speak at Council against the unrealistic fees which have killedthe Fly-In for the moment should hang their heads in shame and will surely be held accountable.

Jim and Margaret Saul

Evans Head

One for the birds

If and when the smallpox virus is finally extinct, humanity will not regret its disappearance. But when plants and animals that enhance and beautify our world go extinct, we are saddened. Time and effort are spent by caring people to prevent such happenings.

Every state in Australia classifies its flora and fauna. Some species get listed as threatened with extinction, and are then further classified as endangered, vulnerable, rare etc. Two threatened species in NSW make use of our little Lismore Lake the endangered black-necked stork or jabiru, and the vulnerable comb-crested jacana.

Earlier this year the lake itself was threatened with an invasion of the introduced water hyacinth, and more recently by an abnormal growth of the little native ferny azolla. Though this plant is apparently good food for some fish, it was deadly for young jacanas. We saw them struggling to stay on top and not old enough to fly, some were lost. Prompt action by Council was able to rid the lake of water hyacinth, and a week ago much of the azolla fern was removed.

On Saturday, September 2, we were pleased to see six jacanas in good breeding condition, their combs being conspicuously red, and at least two young birds.

It is to be hoped that water snowflake, with its flattened floating leaves, will soon return, making once again an ideal habitat for our vulnerable species, the comb-crested jacana.

Molly Crawford


Experience village life

For refreshment and a tantalising taste of a local village that succeeds, visit sunny Nimbin. For a sense of variety and a feeling of charm and creativity, whose ambience is gentle on the mind, spend a Sunday in Nimbin, NSW.

For all the talk of tolerance, diversity, acceptance, alternative lifestyles and creative, artistic people, drive the few kilometers from Lismore or Murwillumbah or Kyogle and have a look at the real thing see Nimbin in the spring.

Suspend judgment on anything youve heard before and tootle along well tended roads. Park, stroll, open your eyes and your heart and take in a village that practices some of the rarer qualities of our nation.

We teach children about tolerance, acceptance, diversity, respect for independence, creativity, green industries, alternative energies, artistic creations and here, on our doorstep, we have it all.

Nimbin NSW (northern that is) home to my wifes childhood, home to the Nimbin Central School whose students lead the way in music, art, student decision making, kid friendliness, open minded attitudes, care for all and respect for diversity.

Quality health services, a postcard main street, Heritage-listed shops, a wonderful community preschool, stunning hills and fresh streams, shops of enviable creativity and people who will accept you as you are. Its a great place to live, to open a business, to invest and to take your family. You would have to be in Nimbin.

We talk of places where diverse opinions are encouraged, where one size does not fit all, where you are encouraged to speak your mind and where your uniqueness is embraced. Occasionally we actually visit such a place. Come and see Nimbin.

Peter Lanyon

Country Labor candidate for the seat of Lismore

All in the wording

Why should I be concerned about one different word and the omission of another in my letter (Echo, September 14) when you do such a remarkable job of transforming my ancient scribble into readable print?

But in quoting Helen Coyle (August 10) I wrote the word could not would. A very small difference but of great importance. In the last paragraph I wrote that John Lenon would do better to save his hatred for the greedy and uncaring people of this world who do nothing to ease the suffering of the sick and starving, especially the children.

Though it pains me, I can understand that there is much sickness in the world, but I cannot see, with so much food stockpiled all over the place, why people cannot have enough to sustain them, therefore the word starving was important to me in my letter.

A thousand pardons, Madame Editor, for being such a whinger (crawl crawl) but I hope that you will understand my concern.

Doug Myler

Lismore Heights

The awful truth

There are many ways to describe Australian political history over the past 10 years. It seems the line from George Orwells novel 1984 aptly applies Lies shall be truth and truth shall be lies. I make these observations, not just of the destructive recklessness of the federal government, but equally the misdeeds and weakness of the federal opposition and state governments, and not least of all, the dismal failures of the Australian media.

So what is it that particularly characterises this dreadful period? A different kind of government far more closed, nationalistic and centralised has emerged. Privatisation of the public sector into the hands of shareholders and large companies. A new tone of divisive politics and borrowed presidential style, namely Howardism. Policies and laws extremely ideologically driven that have radically altered Australian traditions and confidence of the populace. Government itself has become the biggest problem. Yet what is most needed today is sensible community dialogue and responsible leadership. Instead we have division and fear mongering. A stolen generation and stolen freedom. The examples are numerous. The first big lie the GST, the intent of which the feds are now trying to enforce new conditions by arguing for more policy control over the states in education and health. Most appalling has been the absolute failure to engage Aboriginal Australians with measures like the Ten Point Plan, non commitment to reconciliation, a new paternalism and taking away of Aboriginal voices and say in their communities, etc. No group of Australians are left untouched. Misleading notions of every Australian becoming a shareholder in publicly owned assets like Telstra. The attack on workers and the fair wage system with the IR laws. Detention centres in the desert, and now the imprisonment of refugees under the absurd Pacific Solution, all far away from public scrutiny. Repressive and secretive anti-terror laws, both state and federal, taking away basic legal and civil rights. And others, disabled people, now forced off pensions and onto the dole. Harsh penalties of cutting dole entitlements for minor matters for those on welfare. A trip to America and now the promotion of nuclear power and other questionable technologies as solutions to global warming, along with vigorous attacks on scientists and conservation minded citizens for their justifiable support for alternative approaches to probably what is the gravest threat mankind has ever faced. They have dictated to the underdeveloped Pacific countries, the so called arc of instability. Policies evolve almost daily. Ridiculous ideas of defining Australian values. And of course, there is the war on terrorism and the disaster of Iraq. As Howard said when entering that war I will not be swayed by public opinion. This says it all. My point is to ask: whose interests are being served here? Orwellian propaganda and language is used. We are preached to, lied to, cajoled and forced under law by immoral and treacherous governments, while the media sit by and commentate, but do nothing about reporting the truth. We are now a much lesser nation and democracy for it.

John Jessup


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