Letters to the editor

Parking divide

I DRIVE a small car and when I go to car parks at the shopping centres in Ballina, I try to park away from large four-wheel drive vehicles.

Quite often when I return to my car, there is a large vehicle parked next to me.

I find it very hard to back my car out as I can't see if there is anything coming.

I am surprised there are not a lot of accidents because of this.

Why can't a separate area be put aside in car parks for four-wheel drives?

Dennis Shapter,

Ballina

 

Speak up, Cr

IN THE Advocate (20/3) Jeff Mitchell criticises Cr Johnson for being "derogatory" about council, then mentions that board members of corporations know "better than to betray his/her own organisation".

Without buying into the politics, I suggest that this is not a good argument.

Tobacco, mining, food, chemical and oil corporations and, of course, even recent governments are excellent examples of revolting acts that are carried out when people are "loyal".

I say, hold all powers-that-be to account in the loudest way possible.

For the record, I want my community leaders to stand up for my environment, see through the fallacy of endless growth, and design beautiful communities in which we are treated fairly.

I'm happy for them to be derogatory to make that happen. Bad things happen when good people do nothing.

Mark Waller,

Lennox Head

 

Political games

I READ with interest Cr Paul Worth's contradictory letter titled "Playing politics" in the last edition of the Advocate (20/3).

It appears to me that Cr Worth is the one playing politics, when he votes against council motions based merely on his clearly stated prejudice against Cr Jeff Johnson.

Cr Worth displays that prejudice by mentioning "The Greens" on no less than six occasions and even dragging out the sad old "extreme" tag.

This is a childish display of political hostility, when the issue being discussed is of "forced amalgamations".

Cr Jeff Johnson's' motion asked the council to reject in advance any forced amalgamations and write to the Local Government Minister, Don Page, expressing this position.

It was timely and appropriate given what we know of the proposed changes to the Local Government Act.

While Cr Jeff Johnson is being accused of "playing politics", Cr Worth has effectively admitted to doing precisely that, by voting against a motion that he says he supports.

Councillors will be judged on their voting records.

It appears on this occasion Cr Worth let his emotions over-rule his common sense.

By not supporting Cr Johnson's motion, Cr Worth has now effectively endorsed a forced amalgamation involving Ballina Council.

Robyn Sparks,

Ballina

 

Other sources

THE general manager of Ballina Shire Council, Paul Hickey, has merged the separate issues of secrecy and confidentiality (Letter sparks probe, Advocate 20/3).

I described the Commercial Services Committee meeting as a "secret meeting" because Mr Hickey did not disclose the nature of the business transaction in the agenda.

I believe that this was a deliberate ploy to stop ratepayer opposition to a commercial transaction which was clearly not in their best interest. It is hard to object to something if you do not know what it is about.

It was only after the minutes of the secret meeting had been posted on the council's website that it was

confirmed that councillors had approved a land swap with Fire and Rescue NSW. Mr Hickey's secret was out.

Council's Tarmarind Dr property has been on the market for several years and has been commented on in numerous council reports which are public documents. There is a lot of information in the marketplace about council's property holdings and activities.

If Mr Hickey wants to play monopoly and wheel, deal and speculate in freely traded property markets with ratepayers' money, then he needs to understand that information about his activities will find its way to the marketplace.

The market is dynamic and full of rumours, hearsay and facts.

Market intelligence is continually being gathered, filtered, dissected and analysed by people who will comment and opine on a whole range of issues. Transactions are continually being negotiated, finessed and documented. Often there are many players involved in both sides of a deal.

Just because Mr Hickey submits a business paper on one of his property proposals to a council meeting and the councillors resolve to consider it in a confidential session does not mean that the information is not already in the market place.

It is only councillors and council staff who are subject to a confidential resolution.

It does not apply to the general public who may be in possession of the information.

Vince Kelly,

East Ballina

 

Thank you

AFTER many years of campaigning by residents of Sanctuary Village and the surrounding area, the speed limit on Ross Lane at Lennox Head has now been reduced to 80 km/h.

It is pleasing to see this action taken by the RMS and local council without waiting for a fatality or serious accident to occur and is in keeping with the speed limits imposed on similar roads in the area.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Advocate for its continual support, and local residents for lobbying government and council officials for a speed reduction.

We may never know if, or how many, lives may have been saved or altered by this action, but we, the local residents, can now feel a little safer when entering Ross Lane if fellow motorists adhere to the new 80 km/h speed limit.

John Moloney,

Sanctuary Village

 

More thanks

ON March 8, the Lennox Head VIEW Club hosted a Champagne Breakfast for International Women's Day. It was a great success with over 200 women attending, with ticket sales having been closed off two weeks before the event took place.

We have received many messages of congratulations about our event commenting on the outstanding quality of our speakers, the delicious food, the standard of the entertainment and the organisation.

All this would not have been possible without a great deal of help, which we would like to acknowledge.

Firstly, our inspiring speakers, The Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, Shadow Special Minister of State, Minister for Seniors; author Jesse Blackadder; local business woman Parvin Mansouri; and Paralympian of the Year Jacqueline Freney, who all gave thought-provoking presentations.

The entertainment was provided by the Scarlett Singers under the direction of Melia Naughton from the Scarlett School in Newrybar, and Gyan and Simon who filled the musical interludes with beautiful songs.

The women of Lennox Head VIEW provided some of the catering while the rest was supplied by Cafe Marius and the Ocean Cafe.

The Ballina Masonic Lodge loaned us the crockery and cutlery to serve 240 guests, which was an incredible help.

We would like to thank the staff at the Lennox Head Community and Cultural Centre who were always most helpful, and also the many generous sponsors that donated goods for the breakfast, raffle prizes, gift packs and for the beautiful flowers.

All these things contributed to the success of the function but without the professional advice, expertise and hands-on hard-working help of event manager Lisa Audus, technical expert Matt Dobson and graphic artist Catherine Campbell, it would not have been possible.

Profits from this event will be donated to the Smith Family's Learning for Life program.

Dawn Sword,

Lennox Head VIEW Club


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