Letters to the editor
Real 'vandalism' was years ago
WHERE were the whingers when we needed them?
There are plenty of them out there now complaining how a man-made pile of rocks has been made ugly (Advocate, 3/4).
Now, I don't know about you, but I've never seen an attractive sea wall win any beauty contests.
It would have been a lot better if the whingers were around when the Crown quarried Black Head to move the pile of rocks to where they are now.
I've only seen one photo of Black Head before it was vandalised - it was taken from the Shelly Beach side and showed sheer 20 to 30 foot cliffs dropping straight into the ocean.
It looked spectacular and would have provided great protection from northerly winds for picnickers on Shelly Beach or surfers looking for a tidy wave in the north corner of Shelly.
I wonder what it looked like from the Angels Beach side.
But, alas, back then we didn't have any whingers who would strive to protect our wonderful natural spectacle.
I congratulate and support Luke Wallace (Advocate, 3/4) for his great idea of building an ocean pool there.
He says it would be "a silver lining in Ballina's coastal black spot".
Perhaps it could be some compensation from the State Government for our loss.
Finally, I would like to comment about the whingers' complaints about the concrete hanbars put up high on the wall.
Apparently that's where they need to be placed as they tend to roll downhill, not uphill, when moved by waves.
Gravity has a pretty marked effect on things weighing up to 16 tonnes.
ON Easter morning, I went out to greet the new day and the resurrected Lord.
I walked along North Wall to the end and I saw a ghost city in front of me.
The huge concrete hanbars have wrecked the aesthetic appeal of the Ballina walkway where the river meets the sea.
Gone is the view.
There was one fisherman who tried and tried to find a spot to fish.
He could no longer fish at the end of the wall.
Instead, he tried the sides halfway down the walkway. He slipped on the concrete.
The 285 concrete hanbars are truly an eyesore.
Also, the new two-storey building at Lighthouse Beach is huge and all concrete.
The concrete in the middle of River St shopping centre has caused trouble to big vans (and many people have them nowadays).
Where Ballina was such a lovely, aesthetic town, now River St looks like many other country towns and "Where 'ere you look on every side, 'tis concrete, concrete, concrete".
South wall ruined, too
LATELY we have had many people remarking about the work which has been carried out on the North Wall at Ballina, and its lack of foresight in the manner in which it has been carried out.
If one is wondering what all the fuss is about, may I suggest that you take a walk out there and have a look for yourself at why people are so concerned, and you will be satisfied that there is a genuine cause for it.
Many of the people who have been frequent visitors over the course of their lifetimes, such as surfers, fishermen, walkers and general visitors, agree that the work which was carried out on the southern breakwater, which also was reinforced by hanbars, has led to the decimation of the surf break at South Wall, which was one of the best in our area in northerly winds, and the loss of one of the best fishing spots at Ballina.
The reason most people believe to be the cause of its demise is the massive sand build-up around the end of the southern breakwater, but more importantly, the sand build-up on the bar, which at the best of times is barely knee-deep around the river side of the southern breakwater.
Therefore, surely it must be likely that this may also occur in the river side of the northern breakwater as well, leading to an even greater sand build-up than is already the case.
The comment by our local member that these hanbars will save the residents of Shaws Bay from devastation is ridiculous, and that they will lead to a better predicament for navigation is also questionable.
The major things the residents of Shaws Bay must fear are tsunamis or cyclonic tidal surges, or climate change, but in this they will not be the only ones to shoulder concern.
And if the sand build-up does increase as it has on the other side of the river, then the local fishermen and boat owners will have even more cause for concern.
It seems as though the requirements of our coastline is taking a back seat these days.
The prime spot that the tourists used to have has been ruined, and trying to justify it by making cheesy remarks and expecting the masses to swallow it is unbecoming of our local member.
We will now have tourists clambering all over these monsters, risking their safety, and the safety of rescuers to potential incidents when they dislodge themselves as a result of a lack of foresight.
Support for Black Hd pool
I WOULD like to add support to Luke Wallace's suggestion to create an ocean pool at Black Head (Advocate, 3/4).
There are over 100 ocean or rock pools along the NSW coast alone providing safe and accessible swimming for everyone.
Many people are denied the pleasure of swimming in the fresh salt water because of age or mobility issues.
Imagine a pool with disabled access, giving people independence and enjoyment just like everyone else!
SO Cr Jeff Johnson is pleading he has nothing to hide (Advocate, 3/4).
If not, Cr Johnson, it should not be a problem to sign a statutory declaration like the other councillors have.
I feel if I had nothing to hide, I would be the first to offer to sign on the dotted line to declare my innocence. Something does not "ring true" for me here.
Mr Kelly is constantly writing letters to the editor extolling Cr Johnson's virtues.
Council report card
WITH six months passing since the last elections it's time for a progress review: Did we vote wisely in September 2012?
Are our councillors performing well?
Few would dispute that the 2012 election campaign, replete with misinformation, intimidation, personal abuse and criminal activity, set new standards of low.
Have we advanced since then?
Have we the respectful, honest, accountable local government we have the right to expect?
Letters on March 20 - Mitchell ("Not Positive Cr") and Worth ("Playing politics") - disappoint me.
So did previous letters from the Mayor attacking a councillor.
It all looks like the same dirty game being played.
Mitchell totally misunderstands local government.
It's not a business corporation. It's a forum where the policies councillors took to the election are promoted, studied and debated.
Each councillor is responsible for defending and advancing the policies their constituency elected them on.
Worth went to the election on a policy-free platform and I can see little change.
The community expects this council to manage infrastructure backlog and finance new infrastructure.
If these noisy critics have a fiscal strategy for doing that, we have yet to see it.
Abusing councillors who do make constructive proposals gets nobody anywhere.
The first duty of a community is to educate its leaders, but I'm beginning to wonder if this class is really educable.
Six months of failure grades doesn't augur well.
If we get the governments we deserve, what did we do to deserve this one?
Perhaps we need to see some real leadership from the top, setting an example.
NDIS not for aged
I AM a paraplegic of long standing (no pun intended), and have a cynical view of governments.
I have over the last three years watched the Federal Government develop the NDIS.
From the Federal Government, we have been promised that all people with a disability will be better off with this scheme and no person will be any worse off.
All disability organisations have pushed this scheme, also saying that all people will be treated equally and their needs met in a way they are not being met with the current fragmented scheme which needs to be completely overhauled.
I recently attended a meeting held by DAISI and Page MP Janelle Saffin to explain what the NDIS will mean for people with a disability, their carers and groups who provide their support.
I was surprised and disappointed to learn that anybody with a disability who is aged 65 or over has no access to this scheme.
Nowhere has there been any information readily available on this condition of the NDIS.
It seems that when we reach 65, we are no longer disabled but aged.
My paraplegia did not miraculously disappear on my 65th birthday and my ongoing needs did not and do not diminish as I get older.
But they will increase.
The hypocrisy of the decision is hard to understand. I have been assured by friends and people that work in the system that by 2018 when the NDIS is to start in NSW that all Aged Care Services will be equal to those provided by the NDIS as the government is also overhauling this system.
This apparently has been happening for some time. Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems to be duplicating a system we should already be covered by.
The Anti-Discrimination Act says no one can be discriminated against, amongst other things, on age or disability.
By denying over-65s who have a disability access to the NDIS, the Federal Government is contravening its own law.
Anyone who is now 65 or will be before 2018, let their Member of Parliament know their views on this decision - whether they disagree with it or not.
Fleeing from 'safety'
HERE'S a question for you: If coal seam gas was safe for our waterways and ground water, why are the gas companies leaving NSW after the government introduced stricter environmental regulations to protect our water?
Metgasco returned to Queensland, Arrow sold to Dart, and now Dart (the company holding the licence which includes the Ballina Shire) has suspended all activity in NSW.
New regulations include 2km buffer zones around residential areas, and impact assessments to protect our groundwater and surface water.
Clearly, the need to demonstrate that the industry will not impact our environment has proved too big a hurdle.
I WOULD like to thank all the people who helped me on March 28 when I collapsed in front of the coffee shop at Ballina Fair.
To the coffee shop staff, Heart Foundation walkers, two ladies who were having coffee in the coffee shop, Ballina Fair management, two ambulance officers - a big thank you.
IN 2009, Lismore resident Mr Al Oshlack legally challenged the intention of Rous Water and Ballina council to fluoridate the drinking water supplied to their respective constituents.
In April of 2010, Justice Biscoe, in the Land and Environment Court NSW, ruled in Mr Oshlack's favour. This landmark ruling indicated that the NSW Water Fluoridation Act (1957) must comply with the Code of Practice under the EP&A Act; legislation protecting the environment; including human health.
In an appeal by Rous Water, Justice Pepper ruled against Mr Oshlack in May, 2012.
The upcoming appeal by Mr Oshlack on May 1, 2013, is about the legal process.
Ballina Fluoridation Free Network Inc is fundraising to assist Mr Oshlack's courageous stand on behalf of informed citizens opposed to water fluoridation.
Our AGM for members and the general public will be held on April 11, 2013, 6.30pm, at the Ballina Beach Resort; Compton Drive, East Ballina, where any donations will be greatly appreciated.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to donate.