Letters to the editor - Dec 3

Bubble trouble
Rudd cannot ban CO2, we need it in our beer. Vegetable growers use it to increase production by 40%, it is essential plant food, without it forests die, numerous times it has been higher than now with increased forestation and food availability. Extreme climate changes are just part of natural cycles as world history shows. It’s hot and dry here, in the northern hemisphere there are long, bitter, cold winters, flooding and cyclones. The sun is what controls climate, droughts, cyclones, flooding and ice. Nick Minchin needs our support to stop stupidity destroying Australia.
G J May

Complex truth

Searching for the truth in global warming is complex. I have read several books for and against and I sum them up as the global warmers try to delete known written history because it does not fit their theory that man made CO  2   causes warming since the industrial revolution. Having read of the IPCC attempts to manipulate research results to only include readings that show warming trends, I do not believe the IPCC.
Global warming is revered as a religious ideology, yet is based on an unproved theory, and incomplete data. Yet many believe these lies!
Most deniers, and I, believe any global warming comes from the natural cyclical variations in solar orbits, sunspots, sun radiation/reflection, clouds, volcanic emissions. This is based on 2000 years of man’s known written history, and verified by science, and can also explain previous climate changes. Regardless of CO2   levels!
Ken Macdonald
Lennox Head

Colourful problem
Wilson Tuckey may be a climate sceptic, but Rudd is a climate wanker. Rudd spouts the talk convincingly but his actions betray him.
What’s the point of an ETS that pays polluters to keep polluting at the taxpayers’ expense and, according to Treasury, ensures the rule of dirty energy for another 25 years? For Rudd, that’s good (oxymoron) politics. The public feel he’s doing something and the polluters know he’s actually on their side. Hey, you can please everybody.
If only our magnificent leader could magically manipulate the natural world, too. If the melting arctic/Greenland etc. could go on hold to fit his time frame and the colourful fish and corals of the Great Barrier Reef patiently endure. What’s happened to the science? In the passion for economics, it’s been foolishly ignored.
This is a polluters’ pact, giving another $5 billion to coal and more to other polluters. Hello? Where does clean energy fit into this, or emissions reductions?
Bob Brown dubs the passing of the ETS a black day for a green Australia. Reckon. No wonder I’m feeling blue, going grey and seeing red.
S Burke

Lofty standards

I read Stewart Hase’s article about service in a French restaurant (Echo, Nov 26).
A few of us went out to lunch this week to The Loft in Lismore and what a pleasant time we had with good friends of course.
The service was definitely first class.
The girls at the front desk, also the lass waiting tables, were all great, no trouble with smiles or eye contact there. Thumbs up for The Loft.
Dorothea Ruane

Regarding a paragraph in one of your articles stating “Say a definite no to pet shops” (p10, Echo, Nov 26).
I agree strongly that animals should never be given as presents and should always be sold responsibly with strong care guidelines, BUT statistics are available to show that a very low percent of pet shop purchased animals end up dumped. People have dipped into their pockets deeply for these pets.
Not all pet shops are irresponsible. Pet shops are more easily policed than private individuals and animals have to be microchipped, vaccinated and eight weeks old.
The biggest problem lies in irresponsible people who will not desex their pets and the people who place free ads for animals and the papers and shops that allow them to display these ads. We hear regularly ‘it was free and I can’t keep it’. Don’t you hear this too ARRG? How many ads do you see obeying the pet shop rules on age etc?
We take up to 200 rescued cats and kittens per year and subsidise them out of our own profits and sell them responsibly. No kittens are accepted without the mother being desexed if there are owners present. Most of these kittens have been refused by ARRG. Where do they go if we don’t take them?
No animal is sold without the prospective owner being made to consider very carefully the commitment involved and cost of ongoing care. We refuse to sell pets if we don’t think they have a good future with the prospective owner.
Most pet shops are a source of advice with problems, professional help, caring, and good quality products unlike some supermarket lines.
So ARRG why not attack free ads, puppy farms and people who do not desex instead of bundling all pet shops together as no-go zones. I actually offered to fundraise for you on a regular basis several years ago. You reluctantly accepted one offer in which you raised a considerable amount of money and never spoke to me again. I estimate this fundraising would have amounted to $60,000 over the years we have had our shop. Do not say all pet shops are bad news. Other rescue groups have given help to us in the past so they must think some of us are okay.
Lucinda M Dyason
Pets and Saddles

Unhappy chappie

I like to only write positive letters to the paper, but after Jim Lee’s latest ravings I have to change that (Echo, Nov 19).
Chaplains paid by the state government, be they hospitals, schools, prisons, nursing homes or whatever the case may be, are to contact Ministers of other faiths if asked to by a patient.
I know most of them do this, as I work in Prison Ministry. I’ve often seen prayer and holy books of other faiths in the chaplain’s office for those that ask as well as a contact list for these people of different faiths.
As for secular counsellors, they are already available in most of these places, yet people prefer faith-based counselling, even those that are not of any faith.
I often talk with people that just want someone to talk to. If they are not Christian and don’t want to know about God they tell me and I respect that, and yet they still talk to me about their problems.
Jim, let’s take a walk down memory lane to when many years ago you were a dedicated Christian. I recall the time you were upset because The Bible Society employed a non-Christian. You carried on about how bad they were and that this new person of a different faith could corrupt the workers there. 
Yet here you are today, saying this and that about Christians being these bad people. Yes, sadly there are so-called Christians that don’t show the love of Jesus. Remember Jim, true Christianity is about relationship, not religion. Just as you once had with Jesus. Jim, I don’t know why you turned your back on God. I do know that the church you went to had a lot of problems and many people left, but don’t blame God because of sinful people.
Daniel Jones

Vale chaplain

It is sad news that the chaplaincy position at Lismore Base Hospital is to cease this week. The trauma and sadness associated with accidents and medical procedures can be alleviated by the comfort and reassurance a chaplain can provide. Over recent decades, LBH has appointed loving and competent chaplains without whom hospitalisation will become even more of a routine where emotional support is dependent on the already overtaxed medical staff.
Ian & Jean Southwell

Priority rating

There hasn’t been a special rate rise in Lismore since 1996, and Lismore City Council is currently applying to the Minister for an increase of 3.77% (above our usual rate rise). The special rate increase is for three things: 1. Roads, 2. Margaret Olley Arts Centre and last but definitely not least, 3. Environmental Levy.
The first two items have received much public attention and public support. Those first two items are important but not as strategically so as our environment. We should say very clearly as a community that we support all three, but especially that we support a special rate increase for an environmental levy. What is an environmental levy? My understanding is that an environmental levy is a special rate paid yearly by ratepayers and is used to fund “non-core” environmental work such as strategic planning and projects (Coffs funds a team of bush regenerators), land acquisition (Mackay Regional Council does this), and as a fundraising mechanism leveraging other funds from state and federal government (it can grow the budget for such works significantly when used in a dollar for dollar funding contribution scheme). Examples of successful environmental levies at work include Coffs Harbour City, Kurringai City Council and the Gold Coast City Council.
What does this mean for us and why is it so important now? My understanding is that an environmental levy will mean we get a biodiversity strategy, environmental projects, and resources that we wouldn’t get in the short term under existing funding and budget arrangements. This is our big chance at resourcing some extremely important and timely environmental/ conservation/restoration work in the Lismore City Council area. Lismore is situated in a region of high biodiversity and we need this levy! I am a long-term Lismore resident and ratepayer and believe this rate rise is not a lot to pay for what it could bring us and future generations! Bring it on!
Kristin den Exter

Too risky

I am extremely concerned by the lack of attention to the risk factors involved in the construction of the Margaret Olley Arts Centre (MOAC).
We have been told the MOAC is affordable and will create vast sums of money for our ailing economy and CBD.
However assumptions have been made about the MOAC that could easily turn out to be exaggerated or wrong.
Council staff based the assumption of affordability on the risk factor that the economy will improve in two years. A brave assessment indeed considering the recent tremors in the economy of Dubai and the ongoing saga of toxic debt from the GFC.
The cost estimates for the MOAC are in their early stages. No building or landscape plans exist. Therefore costs, in the words of Lismore Council’s finance director, are “variable”. Ratepayers have found out to their cost just how variable Council’s projects can be. Just take a look at the airport, the Memorial Baths and the GSAC. All three came in over budget and to date the expected benefits have not been realised.
The stated benefits of the MOAC are that 40,000 tourists will visit Lismore each year. That translates to 109 new tourists to this region each day! But are the figures accurate and trustworthy? Similarly, we are told the MOAC will generate over $9 million pa in our region. That’s $24,600 per day! Remember the old adage ‘if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true’.
Council’s finances are in an ‘asset rich/cash poor’ position. Much of Council’s finances are locked into long term investments and there is little spare cash to provide for our ailing infrastructure such as roads and sewerage. This is unsustainable.
If Council decides to construct the MOAC there will be no money to improve our roads. Without adequate roads our local economy is held back, tourists refuse to come and locals stay at home.
This is especially true in our rural areas where residents feel they are treated like second-class citizens. The MOAC is a risky project in a risky economic environment.
Art in our region will still flourish as it has done over many years. We need to wait till our economy recovers and Council’s finances stabilise.
Cr David Yarnall
The Channon

It figures
After reading a recent advertisement from Crs Marks, Meineke, Graham and Chant wanting to know your thoughts on the Margaret Olley Arts Centre, and the proposed rate increase of 7.01%, I would like to make the following comments.
I have always been a figure person, and so I decided to work through just how much this rate increase would cost over and above the capped 3.5% increase.
I used an example model of rates costing $1000 per year.
A 3.5% increase would add an extra $35.00 per year. A 7.01% increase would add and extra $70.10 per year.
If, like myself, many people pay quarterly, the extra would be $8.75 for the capped increase or $17.53 for the proposed increase.
To raise the bar to rates costing $2000 the increase would be double above.
I am totally aware of two things, and one is that I could be absolutely wrong on all of the above, and the other issue is finances can be so tight for some of us, that we do not need any more stress.
In contrast to that, I would have to say that I am very proud of Lismore, my home town, and if it takes a little more contribution from me to assist in improving facilities for all of us, I would be happy knowing our Council is doing a wonderful job in beautifying and improving the city of Lismore, and we all know how difficult financial management can be.
As to the MOAC, I would like to see a new community centre which could house the Arts Centre, and upgraded library, where space will allow expansion of the wonderful work the existing cramped library carries out.
This library tends to the needs of our very young to very old, and a combined art gallery and library could possibly introduce the same young and old to another enjoyable life experience.
The Margaret Olley Art Centre could be housed in the old high school, now library, and a new community purpose built library could be placed on the agenda!
As in capital cities, art galleries wander all over the place, so the many rooms and areas of our library would suit this idea. Do I have any supporters?
June Crawford

Creative hole

It is of great concern that the Council is considering rejecting a new gallery. As a creative industries initiative of Lismore Council the current gallery is directly funded under its cultural policy to improve and maintain the identity of Lismore and villages and their sense of place.
Supporting the gallery the Council recognises the contribution that culture makes to the social and economic well-being of the community.
The art gallery as a cultural centre can bring local economic benefits providing a flow on effect to other industries, and engaging the community can assist to maintain a sense of identity and place.
Creative industries are recognised as drivers of economic growth, ideas and knowledge adding value in the form of intellectual property and are the basis of future economic wealth generation. Areas of concentrated creativity show economic growth, and increased networking and collaboration within creative and cultural industry can achieve higher and more efficient production. Creative industries in the Northern Rivers region can be a major contributor to a sustainable and robust regional economy.
There has been a rise in employment in the creative arts industries of the Northern Rivers and worldwide recognition of creative industries as important drivers for economic growth.
By representing the social, historical, creative and cultural aspects of the region, a new gallery will give a stronger foundation to the local creative industries, protecting and improving the integrity and the lifestyle of the area for the benefit of the community, and assisting to provide meaning to the place of belonging that is the Rainbow Region.
Franca Wolfe
Tuntable Falls


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