Letters to the Editor - Oct 29
Re: “Noisy solar in hot water” (Letters, Oct 22) I was a bit disappointed to read this complaint in The Echo rather than be approached by Mr Rob Andrews to see if we could assist him with this issue with the noise from the neighbours heat pump hot water system. His letter brings into question whether we express any consideration for people with regards the noise created from heat pumps.
We have always taken this into consideration here at David Lewis Plumbing Solahart and this is reflected in how many we install. Looking through our database I could only find three installations. I also train our sales staff to emphasise the pros and especially the cons (noise/efficiency). It does concern me how many are being installed in the area, due to cheaper imports hitting the market, so I hope this response helps people considering heat pumps take the noise impact into consideration not only for themselves but also their neighbours. His letter also questions the legality of this system as an option to install. The Solahart Synergy is Australian standards approved and at 51db it's the same output as many other similar appliances. As to whether this particular installation exceeds noise regulations, testing will be required to verify and the environment in which it was installed has a large impact on the result.
For example, hard reflective surfaces can increase the test result.
We have also forwarded a letter to Mr Andrews offering our assistance with this matter and suggestions for alteration.
Not only have the costs for visits to the Memorial Baths and the Aquatic Centre gone up significantly above the inflation rate ( Echo, Oct 22, page 4), Council has slapped an increase of more than $125 on residential rates this year. That is an increase of 7.4%. I recall a note in The Echo a couple of months ago that Council wants to increase the rates another 6.8% next year. Great idea.
Lismore's facilities, services and roads are deteriorating by the year. Since we moved to Lismore 11 years ago the rates have more than doubled! The only improvement is a more environmentally friendly garbage collection.
Council has gambled away millions of dollars in taxpayers' money in the Global Financial Crisis in risky investments.
And the ratepayers get slapped with enormous increases because of their inability to handle their budget responsibly. This is our money - not theirs! If a business or a private person would act like this they would go to jail. Who is giving Council the permission to act like they do?
Who checks what they do? Obviously nobody.
If Council precedes with these exorbitant rate rises we have to pay $3000 in rates in 10 years time. Lismore has one of the lowest average incomes in the state at around $32,000 per year.
How will we afford to own a house here? I thought the previous Council was a nightmare. This one is the same. It's time Lismore's taxpayers wake up and do something about it.
The time for lame excuses and unreasonable explanations for hikes in fees and rates by Council and Council's general manager have passed.
Last week's Echo (Oct 22) cited a comment by Council that they had had few complaints about the price increase for admission to the Memorial Baths.
If you use the Memorial Baths and don't see any reason that you should pay 16% more for entry this season, then please contact Council and let them know!
If you don't use the Baths because they are too expensive then please speak up. Let's demand that the prices be reviewed in the next few weeks.
- After last week's story on pool prices the manager of the Alstonville Pool (the only other outdoor heated pool in the area) rang The Echo to say they'd had a huge increase in the number of people enquiring about season tickets.
I'd like to send a huge thank you to the Show Society for my best ever time at the North Coast National. It is changing and evolving in ways that are sensitive to the new issues faced by rural and regional folk (stemming from climate change) and yet is also inclusive of the many (and varied) lifestyles that coexist in this fantastic part of Australia.
Where else could an event for racing bob-cats share the ring with stunt motorbike riders, community-made lanterns and traditional horse-riding events? Innovation has enriched the Agricultural Show experience without diminishing a bit from what it was set up to do (and Lismore has the longest experience in Australia in this regard I believe)? I loved the fact that my young daughter and I could watch with fascination the creation of a sand mandala by Tibetan monks, wander across to experience live folk performances at the Cock & Bull tent, check out the exhibits competing for prizes in the pavilion (taking away a brochure on joining the Bonsai Society), view great photos and paintings, indulge in wicked show food (my first dagwood dog ever), watch free performances on the Community Stage and at the Gypsy Caravan and, of course, check out all the best felines in the cat show.
The live performances lent a vibrant air to the event and I think the Society was very generous with its free provision of this, given their constrained financial circumstances. So much was going on I can't even begin to do the variety justice. It had all the light, colour and excitement of the closing fireworks - so much of interest to see that on a really hot day I managed to keep walking and wondering for 12 hours.
Congratulations to all who made it happen.
I wish to say a big thank you to everyone who attended the Fives Loaves Mobile Soup Kitchen 21st birthday celebrations at Lismore City Hall on October 17.
It was a very happy event and all who came were very supportive of what we do.
I also have rego due on one of our vans coming up so someone may wish to help.
Thanks again to all for your continued support.
Five Loaves Mobile Soup Kitchen
I am saddened and concerned by the recent racist attack on the 3 Rivers Aboriginal Art Space, as reported in The Northern Rivers Echo last week (Oct 22).
I have lived in this community for many years now and I'm sickened by this act of vandalism.
I believe that the very best thing that I, as a non-Indigenous person, can do in response to this cowardly attack is to stand up and say this is intolerable and not what I want in our community.
Of course Indigenous people do not want this hatred, but it needs to be clear to them that non-Indigenous citizens are also outraged by it.
The latest production by the Lismore Theatre Company, Occasional Coarse Language, really is worth seeing.
I enjoyed it a lot. With much of the material written by the Monty Python team and Richard Curtis (for Rowen Atkinson) this show displays some of the best short comedy sketches ever. Also, a witty monologue, playing on Australian place names and performed by Jack Claff, holds its own among this cream of comedy.
This show is witty, fun, completely entertaining and for the most part well executed by the ensemble team of actors. Yes, there are a few bum jokes and the occasional F word, as it is for adults only, but for a good, almost nostalgic laugh, this is a show to see. A fine effort by director Jason Smith and his cast of five (which includes himself). There are three performances left.
A recent Community Satisfaction Survey found the residents of Richmond Valley have a “high level of frustration toward Council”.
The finding comes as no surprise.
A case in point. The community's been asking for an internal audit committee to review Council's performance for years. God only knows it's badly needed. Just look at the millions of dollars written down in fair value or lost in bad investment decisions despite what some councillors would have you believe. We don't know the real extent of the problem as Council has kept its audited accounts from the community.
Council's been dragging the chain for ages but finally bit the bullet at its October meeting and appointed an internal audit committee. Terrific, I hear you say, but when you look at the decision Council is true to form.
Yes, the councillors of the Valley of Surprises, on the advice of the general manager, have appointed three councillors to the audit committee, Sullivan, George and Mustow. There's no independent community representatives because the general manager says “Council staff have not yet identified any suitable independent persons”, a complete nonsense. The Department of Local Government recommends two or three independents, with one to chair the committee, but no, Council has decided at its first meeting the internal audit committee will “determine the appropriateness of including independent persons on the committee”. Excuse me!
But better than that the “General Manager is authorised to direct a comprehensive program of internal audit work” whereas the Department of Local Government recommends that “The Head of Internal Audit” should perform that function, not the GM.
So the very folk whose performance needs to be reviewed are in charge of the review process. I may be missing something here but it looks to me as if the fox is in charge of the hen house. No wonder the community's frustrated. And it's set to continue, although there is one glimmer of hope.
Cr Kinnish spoke against it. You'll remember this is the same councillor Cr Mustow tried to stop from asking questions at the September meeting.
Dr Richard Gates
I raise an issue concerning memberships and/or card connected benefits when purchasing from retail outlets. Some memberships have an initial cost to consumers, some do not.
My difficulty with this system is as follows:
There is probably at any one time only a certain pool of discretionary spending money available for retail purchases. Presumably retailers think that an offer of benefits or discounts may persuade punters to spend at their store rather than another. But if all retailers were involved there may be no effective change. Supposing retailers scrapped this system, the elimination of the associated administration/ bureaucracy would decrease their costs, allowing a general modest reduction in all prices for allcomers for the same net return (remember that significant discounts for some on some products will discontinue facilitating this process).
In contradiction of Adam Smith, the self-interest of merchants in this case does not result in a benefit via an “invisible hand”. The system does entail in my view a kind of restraint of trade. This latter is certainly so re the slightly different but related matter of fuel outlets connected to supermarkets.
Why do retailers indulge in these techniques? I suggest the fundamental psychological cause is that humans like a good wank and can even delude themselves that such can be beneficial and efficient.
Well the dust has settled on the Repco rally and the locals loved it so much that Nature sent a couple more days of dust to keep us all happy.
Of course with the second lot, we actually had to get up off the couch and do something about it! The first lot we just let it happen all around us!
Watching the live broadcast of the rally, the TV station kept going back to 2003 when a car turned over six times, just to keep us all interested, otherwise it was, “whoosh, there goes one! whoosh, there goes one! whoosh there goes one!” as the crowd all chomped on their sausage sizzle for charity and enquired “is that the loos over there?”
Of course they could leave our coastline alone and go out west and mingle the dust, circling Burke and Wills' sacred tree!
No-one to look at them there though and see how clever not to kill themselves with speed.
Exciting sports used to be the gladiators and the lions, much more blood there and an outcome certain - you got your dollar's worth!
Really is that what our society had come too for entertainment? Disrespect for humanity and our environment to make a quid?
Silly me, I thought that most people thought like me, only they were too afraid to voice their opinion? Now I realise I am in the minority and the majority are amused and they love seeing the colour of blood from sports with programmed accidents.
Have we progressed from the sacrificial lamb? They are starving again in Ethiopia!
How long have we in this region been asking for our train to be reinstated?
How many people have looked at this issue and considered it a good idea on environmental grounds? So why has it taken so long for Phillip Silver, the mayor of Ballina to pipe up and disagree with the idea? Things have changed in the last 10 years since the demise of the train service and one thing especially is that prime minister Kevin Rudd has come to power.
For me this means there is hope for the planet and hope that infrastructure can be put into place in an environmentally sound way. Cr Silver, do you think a car monopoly on the transport system is the best option?
Don't we have a right to a decent public transport system? I have a car and don't want to drive it because I know it's bad for the environment. I also can't afford the petrol or the rego. I would love to go to the beach on the weekends or visit the Hare Krishna farm in Murwillumbah.
How do you think we will link the line to Brisbane from Robina without this section of the line being open?
There's a very simple solution to the ongoing debate about our local train line.
Simply run buses over the route for a trial period (say two years) and see how many people board them.
If the buses are full at the end of the trial period then TOOT will have proved their case and the trains should return. If the buses are empty then TOOT will have to accept that the community simply do not want trains.
Such a trial would cost a tiny fraction of the $200m (if Cr Silver is right) it will cost to get the trains going. If TOOT are not prepared to get behind it they will be admitting that the only reason for advocating trains is nostalgia.
How low can Labor go?
In NSW, hunting in national parks negotiations have been revived by the Environment Minister John Robertson. He and Treasurer Eric Roozendaal have had talks with the Shooters MPs about hunting in 13 national parks as part of a deal to secure their vote for unpopular legislation. And you thought national parks were supposed to be places where you could get out into the wilderness and enjoy the peace of nature, right? Wrong! They are now being bargained away for a few votes and converted into shooters' estates. I wonder what those we have running this state would do if an innocent hiker cops a slug from a stray shot?
Meanwhile, back in the woods of Tasmania's Weld valley, shooters are paid $70 an hour to spend their evenings roaming through logged and replanted state forests looking for native wildlife to shoot. Forestry Tasmania is worried a few seedlings will be devoured. The locals are appalled at the industrial logging going on just 100 metres from national parks in some places. Not a peep from the Minister for the Environment, Mr “short memory” Garrett.
And from the pristine wilderness of the Kimberley comes that hit single, “Oil on the water” by Real Bad Company, now touring across kilometres of ocean and coming to a bowser near you. The prologue to all this is “Ruin me redgums and don't spare the koalas” starring Bulldozer Bob and Blinky Bill. Watch with bated breath as Blinky takes on the loggers and firewood merchants over the last pristine stands of riverine redgums in NSW. Will Blinky survive or will he become extinct? Who knows? Who cares? The NSW Government certainly doesn't.
Is it my imagination or is this all still happening under the Rudd ALP government? It seems we are living through “John Howard…The Sequel,” with a supporting cast of “Public Servants Run Amok.” Now there's a show you won't want to miss. Get yer tickets folks. Roll up, roll up!
The global warming sayers are ignorant of history and facts. When Hannibal, the Carthagenian general, took his elephants across the alps to attack Rome there was no ice. Today the pass is a wall of ice.
They grew grapes in England and it was warm in Siberia, the warm temperate climate enabled increased food production, biodiversity and forests, then the little ice-age came and the Thames froze, food production areas decreased and the people had to retreat to warmer areas. Another five degrees warmer and starvation could be eliminated. Cold is the greatest danger to civilisation, food production and forests. To claim CO² is the cause of warming is ignorance, scientifically wrong and deliberately misleading the Parliament. We have droughts in Australian and cruel freezing winters in Europe and the US. Climates are naturally erratic and many believe affected by volcanic dust particles and aluminium particle deliberately put into the upper atmosphere to enhance the US 'Backscatter' radar system plus additive particles from aircraft emissions above the storm-barrier.
G J May