Letters to the editor - Aug 23
To the person or persons who vandalised my Metgasco company vehicle while I was having a meal with my family at Cafe Giardino in Lismore on Friday night, August 10, between 7pm and 9pm:
You should know that I am a passionate believer that CSG extraction represents less risk to the water and farming in this area than continued and increased use of our present coal and oil energy sources.
I also believe that the development of this form of energy represents one credible way of reducing the damaging effect of climate change in the near future.
If you disagree with this then I am available to respectfully debate the ethical and environmental risks and rewards of CSG by reviewing the geoscience of these developments with anyone.
You should also know that I cannot be intimidated or harassed and have reported this criminal act to the police as well as the Workplace OH and S authorities.
This vandalism act is un-Australian behaviour.
Operations Manager, Metgasco
Long time coming
I congratulate Angus Houston and his panel on its work in relation to asylum-seeker policy. The tragedy of hundreds of people drowning at sea over the past months has been unacceptable. Houston's recommendations will go a long way I believe to not giving the people smugglers a product to sell. The proposal to up the humanitarian intake is also welcome.
It is unfortunate the present Labor Government has taken so long to get to this position and the tragedies it has caused.
Nationals' candidate for Page
I am writing to express my disgust and concern regarding Waller's bus company's callous and negligent treatment of the school children naively entrusted to their 'care'. Now primary school kids are forced to either cram onto an undersized bus, with my five year-old daughter trying to squeeze on an already full seat, half squatting in the aisle (surely not safe on these third world goat tracks we call roads), or share a large nearly empty bus with members of the general public.
I am sure your readers need no reminding there are some complex and at times unsavoury characters around here, as anywhere. Indeed, if you believe the hysterical rantings of Thomas George several years ago he said we are "the next Cronulla riot waiting to happen". Well Thomas, how could you let this happen on your watch? Are you too busy lining your pockets with dirty CSG money, or concocting other disastrous schemes like the feral shooters fiasco? Wake up and do something useful for your community! Last time Waller's greedily tried this bizarre scheme they were forced to backtrack when two drunk passengers began fighting and a school girl was punched in the scuffle. Why are they doing it again, with no notice to either schools or parents! Please explain…
Red and green tape
The Ratepayers Team recently released its policy on development. Closely tied to development is employment. If we want jobs for our kids we need a vibrant and growing city. The policy of sustainable development has completely failed Lismore in this respect, reducing growth to a paltry 0.03%.
Sure we need to be sensible about development, it needs to be appropriate to the area in which it is to occur, if we can do this then everyone wins.
If our community is building houses and sheds, jobs are not only provided for electricians, plumbers, concreters and builders but also for local suppliers. Many products are purchased locally and part of the wages earned by these people is spent locally and flows into local businesses. If these businesses are doing well then they will employ more people and so the cycle builds.
It's the same in the agriculture sector; if a farmer needs to adapt or change their business they may need new sheds or equipment for instance. These items are usually purchased locally.
If the farmer, home owner or business can't get permission for development, or onerous conditions of consent are applied, 'the red and green tape', by our council then the development and spending may simply not happen or just go elsewhere. This is exactly what has been happening at Lismore. Elect the Ratepayers Team on September 8 and this will change.
Thanks so much to The Echo for reporting this errant paper throwing. This is an extremely serious matter. The paper thrower, after rolling between 300 and 900 papers, placing them into plastic bags, loading them all into his car, paying for his own petrol, throwing them from a slow moving vehicle, (erstwhile negotiating angry drivers around him) is sometimes getting it wrong. This behaviour is clearly reprehensible. This causes the owner of the house to walk a tad further to pick up his free paper. Filled with rage he reports this behaviour. They do indeed deserve to be disciplined, and not commended for trying to keep themselves employed - albeit for between three and four dollars an hour - less than the minimal wage. This is a very serious matter and I urge Mungo to divert himself from national affairs and critique this situation.
(Works in Lismore)
Ed's note - It is something that has caused serious concern and complaints from lots of our readers. The aim of the article was to let people know what is an acceptable delivery. However I agree the headline 'Dob in a dodgy delivery' was over the top and I apologise if it caused offence to any of the delivery contractors.
Girls in government
There's been a lot of letters lately from candidates in the upcoming elections. In the past I haven't focused on the elections much. I'm taking more notice this time though because I can see that an independent all-women group has nominated, and even better, there are young women in this group.
As a 31 year old woman, it's really nice to feel represented. It would be great to see this trend continue with more young women nominating in the future, but for now I'll be happy to vote for Group J (Girls in Government), and I think other women of the shire should do the same.
We know better
Although the early western style agricultural practices used by earlier settlers caused some damage to our environment, our ancestors were simply implementing European -style farming practices here because that's the way they farmed. They did not know any better and were completely unaware of the long-term impact that they might be having on our environment. They simply did not know any better.
However, the same cannot be said of the coal and coal seam gas mining industries and the government bodies that support them. Coal seam gas mining will have a long term, very negative impact on our water, air and agricultural land. And, to what end? 20 to 30 years of profits for the miners that will be sent off-shore leaving people like us with an industrialised and seriously polluted environment.
How will you tell your children that we knew what CSG mining would do to our environment but didn't stop it going ahead? What kind of legacy will we be leaving our children and grandchildren? We now know about the importance of protecting and preserving our land and water. So it is up to us to tell our elected representatives - loud and clear - no coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers.
Lynne & Jim De Weaver
Doing the hard work
Thank you H. Ray (Echo, August 16) for giving me the opportunity to state some facts about what I have done on council. I am neither a socialist nor a green. I belong to no political party and am independent from party politics. I was unable to vote on the City Hall contract due to a conflict of interest.
I have always supported a growing Lismore that is sustainable. I supported the development of the North Lismore Plateau which could see 1500+ houses built on the outskirts of the CBD. This will re-align Lismore back to the heart of our city and provide in excess of $20 million injection into our CBD. Now that's what I call supporting locals!
The housing range will be diverse and the developers will pay for the majority of the infrastructure. Now that's what I call sustainable! This development will bring much needed growth, employment and money to our region while satisfying the criteria of economic, social and environmental sustainability. I run my own small business and I know from personal experience how our community is hurting. Instead of blaming people I want us to work together to find a solution. I am prepared to continue doing that hard work.
Cr David Yarnall
People before profit
A thought for H. Ray and supporters (Echo, August 16): As important as it is for council to support local businesses, council is not a business, nor is it appropriate for it to be run like a business. (It'd be called Lismore City Business, for starters.) Council - local government - is to provide services for people to better a community. It's true that this should be carried out with good economic management and appropriate budget allocations to ensure best use of the money, particularly given the tight funding environment local government is under. But local government's purpose is to help people, not make a profit.
A realistic Darcy Goodwin full figure portrait showing him distributing food to the underclass beside his van was a finalist in the inaugural Northern Rivers Portrait Prize. Most would agree that painting should now legitimately reside in the archive of the Lismore Regional Gallery. On the inception of the prize, the public was led to believe its raison d'etre was the recording of humanitarian figures from the local community. Subsequent winners, however have shown that the public was misled and due to high jacking by the artistic policy of the gallery, no
such paintings have actually won the prize, even though there have been many prime candidates including, for example, the portrait of Molly Crawford, ornithologist. All three winners so far have depicted an entirely different motive, ego driven personal emotion, which is inimical to compassion. Their subjects also fall within a particular age group, showing the ugly element of ageism at work. It takes Mr. Goodwin's death to bring into contrast what values are real and enduring against an adolescent gallery policy which is not fulfilling its role of community relevance by recording true humanitarian figures and typical conditions in the community. The gallery should be placed under artistic administration to bring it into line.
I have been observing council for 35 years. During that time, many councillors have come and gone but one thing has remained consistent: financial and strategic nincompoopery.
This is highlighted by the unaltered philosophy of 'maintaining Lismore as the regional centre with a robust town centre'. Hence catastrophic economic decisions like operating an airport and building a 15 million dollar white elephant Olympic pool.
As for downtown viability, council approved McDonald's as if the hamburgers sold there were in addition to hamburger sales downtown. Despite world-wide studies to the contrary, council re-zoned for the Big W with the notion it would be good for downtown. LCC even planned to build a covered walkway connecting Lismore Square with the business centre for all the pedestrian traffic.
Compared to Ballina, LCC has very high business rates. This is the stand-alone reason Summerland Antiques re-located to Ballina.
The latest impost on downtown business is the Thursday night market. Lismore Produce Association is only charged $154 per week inclusive of electricity with no limits on the number of stalls along Magellan St.
No wonder curry and rice is sold for only $5 in competition. It's one thing to sell local produce in competition with the only two fruit and veggie shops left downtown, but when it's also apples, I get really pissed off.
Businesses downtown are paying in excess of $5000 in rates plus thousands in electricity.
Since it is patently clear the Thursday night market is detrimental to downtown businesses as witnessed by no increase, and in some cases less trade, Lismore Produce Association should be made to go back to the showgrounds.
Can do community
It was interesting to read the Sharman's letter, (Echo, August 16) about their recent observations made during a four week holiday in Canada and Alaska, with regard to the long established gas industry in those countries.
I wonder, did the Sharman's visit these areas prior to the establishment of these industries to see how the landscape, wildlife and river systems have actually been affected?
Here in the Northern Rivers, we are not prepared to see our environment raped and industrialised in order to better our financial position. Sure, there are issues here with infrastructure funding and employment, but those of us who want better infrastructure and employment opportunities are free to move to other areas, or take up positions available in the mining sector where the rape and pillage of the natural environment is already well underway, such as Gladstone in Queensland. Perhaps the Sharman's should consider moving there, or even somewhere like Chinchilla where the 'gonna do it whether you like it or not' attitude of the Queensland government has got the industry really pumping. There, they can enjoy all the benefits and infrastructure provided by the caring and selfless gas companies such as Arrow energy, otherwise known as Shell Petro China.
I would argue that where you presently live is a 'can do' community. We can embrace renewable energy. We can exercise our democratic rights to protest against the CSG companies and the corrupt politicians that give them license without our consent. We can continue to survive without the scraps of profit that would filter down from these industries into our community after the foreign share holders and state and federal governments have taken their share. We can increase employment opportunities for our community as our regions popularity as a tourist and lifestyle destination will become ever more popular while everyone tries to escape the un-adulterated greed, short-sightedness, apathy or sheer dictatorship that has allowed their environments to be destroyed. And we can do all this by being creative, rather than destructive, by standing up, rather than bending over!
Above the law?
It is very distressing to witness and hear the degree of destruction of mature wildlife habitat that has been happening in the Rosebank area for the past couple of months by Essential Energy, specifically around Fox and Maso roads. I was shocked to discover when I rang Lismore Council to express my concern that this public utility has its own guidelines and infrastructure and can go into an area where they are planning extensive tree felling without liaising with any community or council body or with any wildlife protection agency such as Friends of the Koala.
I was advised they virtually have carte blanche to do as they see fit; which is to take extreme and destructive measures in the clearing around power lines - seven to eight metres either side of the lines sees a lot of vegetation removed.
Of course, we understand the need to keep these areas clear of under/overgrowth and in the past this vegetation would be pruned back to a reasonable degree but it's obviously more cost effective for this company to overlook the environmental ramifications by totally removing native flora rather than monitor and maintain these areas.
We are now moving into the koala mating season and the continuing horrific disturbances of chainsaws, trees falling, trucks, cherry pickers, workmen etc is already having a detrimental effect on their behaviours and on the wellbeing of other arboreal mammals, birdlife and reptiles. That a public utility such as Essential Energy can come into such a beautiful and fragile environment and undertake extensive deforestation without any recourse to council or community consultation displays arrogance and disregard that is unacceptable.
Koalas are now protected under federal legislation and the animal has been included on the National Threatened Species List. So is a power company like Essential Energy above the law and therefore not required to meet the rigorous standards other individuals and groups planning decimation of habitat must meet?
The community relations officer for Essential Energy north coast, Ms Hassell, said she was aware some trimming was happening in the area but after informing her of what was actually occurring a meeting with the Area Manager has been arranged.