OPINION

Efforts to increase cycling in the capital may not work

Encouraging more Canberrans to cycle to work and other destinations is admirable, desirable and cost effective ("Investing in attitudes key to cycling", editorial, December 2), yet it is clear some features of the new 2019 "integrated" transport system may well discourage cycling take-up across the northern suburbs.

Pedal Power president Rosemary Dupont and chief executive Ian Ross check out the statistics on Canberra's first bike barometer. Photo: Karleen Minney

Pedal Power president Rosemary Dupont and chief executive Ian Ross check out the statistics on Canberra's first bike barometer. Photo: Karleen Minney

With the start of light rail, many will find it would be more efficient and flexible to ride to and from rail stops and also use their bike to reach their final destination after arriving in the CBD, instead of using at least two buses and light rail to make one journey. Yet each light rail vehicle leaving Gungahlin for the CBD will accommodate only four bikes.

There is still no indication adequate support infrastructure will be provided at or near light rail stops for those who wish to cycle to these stops and require access to safe and highly secure bike storage facilities. It is clear adoption of the ACT government's much lauded "active living principles" by more Canberrans requires a more holistic and supportive approach.

Thanks Canberra

I am the principal at a young Islamic school in Elizabeth, South Australia. We visited Canberra last month and the students learned so much about democracy and the attractions of the national capital. My reason for writing is to congratulate the tour guides, in particular, who made our visits to Parliament House, Old Parliament House, the Mint and other official places interesting, entertaining and engaging.

Send your opinions to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au Photo: Fairfax Media

Send your opinions to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au Photo: Fairfax Media

I want to especially mention Mike, who delivered a one-student tour at the National Library because of the student's obsession with books. Our 13 and 14-year-olds also appreciated lots of fun and discovery at Questacon and with other fun places. Well done Canberra and PACER for making the learning so rich and relevant.

Depressing idea

Like many older Australians who have worked hard and saved for their retirement, I established a SMSF at the behest of the government of the day, hoping to avoid any reliance on government handouts in my retirement.

But a Labor win in 2019 will see their proposed policy concerning dividend imputation credits, which will result in losing a third of my very modest retirement income.

This third allows me an simple retirement: a bit of travel, a new household item occasionally, and an ability to contribute to family, and my local community.

It's pretty depressing, and worse, this policy exempts all politicians and public servants. Typical Labor - what's theirs is theirs and what's mine (in retirement) is also theirs.

Diversity of views

Ian Warden's columns in The Canberra Times are becoming an embarrassment. From the luxury of a weekly soap box from which he can whinge about whatever takes his fancy, he criticises anyone else who dares to become active in local issues and refers to them by derogatory names such as "grumbletonians". He imagines formation of CRAs (Contented Residents Associations) whose members would meet infrequently, for they have busy, fulfilled lives, to gratefully rejoice about what is wonderful about their lives in their lucky, privileged suburbs.

The people who are active in community groups also have a busy fulfilled lives, and also rejoice in what is wonderful about our city. But these people are also prepared to do something about aspects of our city that are not so wonderful.

You don't have to agree with everything these groups do, to be thankful to these people for taking the trouble to engage. Society is enriched when a diversity of views are injected.

True politicians

It is disappointing that Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek have stated the Adani Mine should not be stopped on the grounds of "sovereign risk". Given the history of this mine and Adani, unprecedented weather, public sentiment and an endless list of other reasons, it is not clear why Wong and Plibersek think "sovereign risk" should have priority.

What about other risks, such as to farmland, water supplies, the Great Barrier Reef, climate, the economic impact on existing coal mines, inconsistencies in statements about the lack of actual benefits to the Australian economy and so on.

These risks (which are about national interest) are sufficient that any new coal mines should be banned, let alone Adani.

Wong and Plibersek have shown their colours as being true politicians. In the context of Adani, they should provide a better risk assessment than they have offered. To put a halt to new coal mines takes political courage.

Use the bus

The "compromise" route now proposed by the Barr government ("Taking the path of least resistance", December 4, pp1,6) is, apart from its horrendous cost, undesirable and illogical.

The proposed route along Commonwealth Avenue between the bridge and State Circle will deface another beautiful Canberra avenue by resulting in the removal of most, if not all of Charles Weston's cedar trees. These trees may well survive for another 50 years if left untouched.

Barr's proposed route along State Circle is also illogical and, perhaps, irresponsible. This is because while there are several office blocks on the eastern sector of State Circle, there are few houses within easy walking distance.

The same problem applies to long stretches of Adelaide Avenue and Yarra Glen.

In my opinion it would be far preferable and far less of a burden on ACT taxpayers to use buses – ideally of the electric variety – to carry commuters from the Civic light rail station to Canberra's southern suburbs.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

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