In yet another sop to the Greens, the ACT government has dealt another blow to people who seek full access to public footpaths. ("Canberrans can now grow plants on nature strips", August 9, p3)
The government's inability, or refusal, to enforce its law requiring access to the entire width of footpaths for pedestrians gives no confidence plantings on nature strips will not create further hazards for walkers and users of wheelchairs and bicycles.
The lack of action when obstructions are notified on Fix My Street makes a mockery of legislation which provides for fines of $110 for an individual and $550 for a corporation that fail to comply with a direction by city rangers to prune vegetation.
There are already plantings on nature strips which do not comply with the proposed half-metre setback from footpaths.
These are frequently where vegetation from a lessee's property intrude on to the footpath, making this public asset almost unusable.
It is clear the government does not provide enough staff to enforce full access to footpaths, even before allowing people to plant on both sides.
Greens planning spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur says she is pleased the government has finally released the guidelines to help Canberrans better use nature strips.
It would be far better for the Greens, who frequently confuse idealism with unintended consequences, to require the government to allow Canberrans to better use public footpaths and walkways.
Fines for littering and illegal parking are issued without notice. If there is to be general compliance with the law requiring full access to footpaths, fines should be issued immediately a breach is notified.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
This is the time for those who wished to eliminate these wonderful trees to step up and tell us how they plan to replace their ecosystem services.P A Marshall, Braidwood, NSW
Hastie analogy misses mark
Andrew Hastie's clumsy analogy regarding the West's weak response to the rise of Nazi Germany could well be paralleled by one regarding the attempts by the US, Britain, France and the Netherlands to restrict Japan's activities in China and South East Asia in the 1930s.
Born out of concerns about the rise of Japan as a potential equal power, in the lead up to the war in the Pacific trade restrictions and oil embargoes played significant roles in shaping Japan's erroneous thinking that an attack on America followed by a sweep into the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies was its best option. Let's hope Trump's ill conceived trade war on China doesn't produce similar results.
Keith Hill, Isaacs
Attacks steeped in ignorance
Sally Wright (Letters, July 6) and Tony Kedy (Letters, July 9) recently wrote to the newspaper criticising the ACT government's approach to managing violence in schools. This initially presented something of a conundrum, as no person with either of those names is or has ever been registered to teach in the ACT.
As The Canberra Times has now admitted, these people wrote under false names. As The Canberra Times has also now admitted, the newspaper should not have allowed this to occur. Public debate in these pages is important for democracy, but it is equally important that people not be allowed to hide behind the cloak of anonymity.
Consider the precedent and the possibilities for a moment. The newspaper presumably aspires to a different tone and quality of "debate" from that which so often occurs on social media. The credibility of one's point is seriously compromised if one lacks the courage to honestly and professionally present it. In the meantime, a public debate has been unethically and unfairly skewed in a way that should concern all of the paper's regular correspondents who do the right thing and put their actual names to their views.
For the record, the attacks of these unidentified people on the efforts to manage violence, and the work of the union in that, are steeped in ignorance. They should seek the advice and support of experts rather than taking the unfortunate approach they did.
Glenn Fowler, secretary Australian Education Union - ACT Branch
Worrying work of willow warriors
For years "willow warriors" have sold us the line that willow trees are a terrible environmental threat. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent tearing willows out of streambanks, poisoning the stumps and burning piles of timber. Habitat, shade and shelter destroyed wholesale.
Now streambanks collapse, dump sediment into the water and erosion accelerates. Is it any wonder Lake Burley Griffin suffered blue green algae outbreaks a few years after the protective willow gallery forest was destroyed?
Lots of platypus were hiding in the willow roots plates near Duntroon before the trees were killed . Haven't seen any since. In return for huge ecostructures we get rows of dead native tubestock in milk cartons and a mass of privet and ivy.
Now the willow haters get their ultimate wish. The giant willow aphid has arrived from Asia and is killing big trees enmasse. This is the time for those who wished to eliminate these wonderful trees to step up and tell us how they plan to replace their ecosystem services.
Because in a very few years we will be seeing mass erosion and sediment dumps unlike anything in our lifetimes. Perhaps it is not too late. Biological control of the aphid might be possible, it needs serious investment and now.
So much spent to destroy ecosystems, equal money must go to fixing them.
P A Marshall, Braidwood, NSW
Why not cheaper, cleaner energy?
John Smith (Letters, August 6), The Canberra Times has already addressed your concerns in the letter, "A Powerful Option" (Letters, May 28). It describes an ocean hydro "battery", recharged from wind and photovoltaic, capable of powering South Australia for an entire month if total darkness and windless conditions prevail. Scale it up for Victoria or NSW.
Do the mathematics for yourself - mass*gravity*height to yield 10^9 joule/second continuously for a month. Then ask yourself, "could the old Snowy Mountains Hydro engineers and our young engineering graduates pull this off - a cheaper and cleaner energy future?" Call me old school, but I say "Why not?". This is what engineers do.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham, Vic
More questions over nuclear
Ian Lambert's suggestion that Energy Minister Angus Taylor's proposed review of nuclear power consider the use of very small portable nuclear reactors (Letters, August 9) - known in the industry as small modular reactors or SMRs - seems a worthy one. However, some facts may suggest otherwise.
Conventional nuclear power stations in the US have each cost up to US$13 billion to construct, and generate between 582MW and 3937MW of electricity. In contrast, SMRs cost between $1.2 billion and $4.4 billion to construct and typically generate between 25MW and 300MW, or up to 700MW, of electricity. They also use less water per unit of energy than typical large reactors; and because this water is heated by up to 30 degrees, it poses less of a threat to aqueous life.
SMRs win out on flexibility and water use, but fall victim to the economies of scale in the supply of electricity. Perhaps SMRs should be considered in any review of nuclear power, but I doubt that their proponents will be able to put up a convincing business case.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Politicians' tunnel vision
A drug addict scarcely knows she or he has arrived in the emergency ward. S/he doesn't care about the other patients there. S/he doesn't care that the doctor has worked for 13 hours straight nor is s/he aware that a nurse deserves respect and is trying to help. An addiction creates tunnel vision.
Compare that with our federal Coalition politicians. They neither know nor care that the Arctic ice is melting, due to climate change. No, that information doesn't fit into their tunnel vision. The school children are frantically worried about something but they couldn't be less interested in finding out what it is. Do they respect the CSIRO scientists who know so much more than they do? Apparently not.
What is it that is distracting them from looking after us? Are they addicted to something, given how similar their behaviour is to those wretched addicts? Is there any kind of rehab that might help them and thus our nation?
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
Canberra's role in Hiroshima
I refer to the article "Hiroshima victims honoured 74 years on" (August 7, p3) and it is timely to recall Canberra's role in the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb. The worldwide search for U235, the element within the Hiroshima atomic bomb, included samples from the Pyramid Hill and Mt Painter uranium mines in South Australia being tested by the Minerals Survey Office (then situated at Alinga Street in Civic, the site of the GPO today) for purity for use in atomic weapons.
The then prime minister, John Curtin, had agreed to investigate the mines for the British to develop atomic weapons as uranium was a scarce commodity. We should mark this location to reflect these facts as we remember the atomic age.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
To the point
A TRUMP-PROOF PLAN
The introduction of mental health checks on those seeking to buy firearms is the United States is welcome. If properly implemented it should preclude President Trump from purchasing a gun or getting near the nuclear button.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Scott Morrison's happy clappy coterie of Shylock petit bourgeoise having "successfully" campaigned to strip spending out of the system, by stealing penalty rates from Australia's poorest wage slaves, will treat with scorn Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe's repetitious adjuration to raise wages ("Reserve Bank governor urges PS wage rises", August 10, p1).
Albert M White, Queanbeyan, NSW
LET IT GO ON ROOF PLAN
With our Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the like wanting a roof on a brand new football stadium, they obviously weren't watching the joy on the faces of the players, coaches, commentators and spectators at Friday night's snowfest at the roofless Manuka Oval.
A stadium with a roof would rob the crowd and all those involved of this rare phenomenon that looked so good on television and even better for those that were at the outdoor ground.
Ian Pilsner, Weston
GREAT MAN IS BACK
Thirty six years after his retirement from Test cricket, the one and only Dennis Lillee, the great man, is again featured on the back page ("Lyon's share", August 7, p40)
Anthony Bruce, Gordon
WHO ATE ALL THE PIES?
Your article "How our school canteens have changed" (August 10, p18) about the luncheon habits of St Edmund's College students is spot on, remembering how our son Keiran "survived" in his senior years at Eddies in the late 1980s. And often the pie in a bun was eaten before school even started.
Your article noted dietary changes over the years. Equally with our son, now resident in Singapore, enjoying that country's cuisine.
T W Campbell, Bruce
WHAT TOOK DUTTON SO LONG?
I refer to Bevan Shields' article "Dutton orders AFP to lift the bar for investigating journalists" (August 10, p17). It is indeed sobering to see that Peter Dutton (of all people) regards it as necessary to direct the AFP on the responsible exercise of discretion. And what took him so long?
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE
The article "Liberals warm to business rate freeze" (August 10, p8) shows that the Liberals are at least listening to the people of the ACT about the burden of rates on their lifestyle.
"Mr Barr described Mr Coe's proposed tax policies as a con." That's like the pot calling the kettle black.
Mr Barr should know all about cons and how they work; the Labor Party and himself have been conning the people of the ACT for 18 years.
Errol Good, Macgregor
WHAT ABOUT STOICISM?
I'm weary of all these images of footballers cuddling and jumping on each other in celebration. And if a player makes a mistake all his teammates must pat him on the head. "It's alright, mate." Whatever happened to stoicism in football?
R J Wenholz, Holt
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