On December 8 last year I walked into Nursery Swamp with a group of friends.
Smoke haze from the then-distant fires filled the air, the scrub on the hillsides was so dry it was crisp. But the swamp was still green.
The swampy soils were doing their job - slowly releasing water into Nursery Creek, enough to fill a few vital pools.
No feral horses had cut tracks that would have compromised the swamp's ability to retain and slowly release water. The calls of birds, drawn by the water, filled the air.
Post-fires, Namadgi's swampy valleys are the first areas to turn green again. I'm glad the ACT government has a zero tolerance policy on feral horses.
Jacqui Lambie has written an excellent opinion piece speaking out strongly for regional newspapers, especially The Canberra Times, and for Australian Associated Press (AAP) as a key provider of factual news to such newspapers ("Another way to protect democracy? Throw AAP a lifeline", September 9, p20).
The decline of Australian newspapers is partly due to the plundering of media news by Facebook and Google. Australia and other countries are struggling to get these hugely profitable online organisations to pay a fair price for the content they use. Let's hope this happens.
AAP has about 100 staff gathering news from around the world and writing unbiased and factual accounts ready to be run in our media. These even include the stories and photos of Australian sporting events that so many of us cherish. AAP gets its funding from Australian media groups and much of this funding has vanished in recent times, along with many of Australia's journalists.
AAP is now a not-for-profit organisation, with a request for highly appropriate federal assistance from the Public Interest News Gathering Fund languishing in the system. Surely the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications should recommend the request to the Minister, and he should sign off on it a soon as possible.
Good point P R Temple (Letters, September 4). When we moved to the new Queanbeyan development of Jerrabomberra in 1989, there was only one small access road, Tompsitt Drive.
It did help police to catch miscreants.
When the 2003 bushfires threatened Edwin Land Parkway, and access to Southbar Road through North Terrace, had not been developed. Within hours the Queanbeyan City Council had organised earthmoving equipment to provide passable emergency escape routes.
Someone must have had a viable contingency plan. The same is needed for any new landlocked development in a high-risk area at the planning stage. It should be required by local authorities as part of the approvals process.
Hardly a day goes past when I don't read in The Canberra Times about the problems that cyclists and pedestrians experience using paths around our beautiful lakes.
Both parties are adamant that they are being badly treated by the other. The real villain is the designer who made the inept decision to have a single path.
There are many examples, such as Stanley Park in Vancouver, where they got it right in having separate paths for each group.
I will watch with interest to see if this problem is addressed in the new West Basin precinct.
My niece lives in Melbourne. She can't travel more than five kilometres from her home unless the journey is for something that is essential. Examples of this are going to work or a doctors appointment.
The AFL hierarchy and their families travelled to Brisbane last week for the footy. They flew with Virgin. I can't go and watch my grandkids play footy in Canberra.
The AFL is in quarantine in a luxury resort with no obvious restrictions, drinking pina coladas around a pool.
A friend of mine in Canberra who contracted the virus was quarantined in her home for a fortnight. My wife and I were to travel to Brisbane in August, flying Virgin for our daughter's birthday. We paid extremely inflated prices.
Because the borders were then closed to "Mr and Mrs Average" our flights were cancelled. Virgin won't refund the money because they didn't cause the virus. This whole thing stinks.
Don McCallum (Letters, September 9) describes West Basin as an "ugly asphalt car park. It features a few weedy looking trees".
It only got that way because this government let it happen so it could justify the redevelopment. The government stopped the pedal boats and the kayaks and Mr Spokes bike hire which all used to operate at West Basin. It was a lovely, lively place to take families.
Mr McCallum, why do we need a Darling Harbour or Docklands or Barcelona here? This is Canberra, the bush capital. Maybe the development should take place at Yarralumla?
Julia Cambage of the Australian Institute of Architects (Letters, September 4) rightly calls out the AWM director over the incompatibility of the proposed destruction of Anzac Hall with the memorial's heritage management plan.
The AWM itself knows the two are incompatible. I believe it suppressed the 2019 revision of the plan, containing the same words on Anzac Hall as the 2011 version, after the revision went out for public consultation.
The memorial has form on being careless with accountability processes. This emerged in its evidence to the current parliamentary public works committee inquiry where it obfuscated about the extent and timing of public consultation on the project.
It put far more weight on the results of such opinion-gathering exercises as it undertook than was justified by their dodgy methodology. The Heritage Guardians dealt with these matters in submissions to the inquiry, and to the current heritage process conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Last week I tried to deliver a package to reception at ACT Tree Protection. After the usual difficulty parking near offices at Dickson I found they had moved.
I called Access Canberra to ask the new address. After some delay, spent listening to that awful "muzak" the operator told me she wasn't allowed to give me the new address.
What has happened to government services in this age of on line culture? I know the address of ASIO, HQJOC, the Prime Minister's homes, and the ACT Assembly. Why can't I know the location of ACT Tree Protection?
Please stop such silly secrecy Mr Barr.
I imagine we would all thank former Labor chief minister Jon Stanhope for the Arboretum. It cost millions and doesn't return a red cent. But trees have instant appeal, and are easier to "sell" than say, tram lines, which contrary Jon seems to be saying must somehow "stack up" financially, against some "business" model.
Of course, the arboretum delivers a social/environmental dividend. Similarly, public transport, hospitals, housing, and schools and so on are developed against rigorous environmental, social, and performance guidelines, and governments must be fiscally responsible.
So far that seems to generally be the case here, apart from some myopic reliance on the private sector which, apparently is becoming more and more greedy and untrustworthy.
Those wondering how to judge aspiring candidates in the ACT election could take a hint from the placement of advertising corflutes.
You might consider, for example, that candidates thoughtless and careless enough to place their corflutes where they obstruct vision on major roads, or otherwise create challenges for pedestrians and cyclists, might turn out to be equally thoughtless and careless in office.
That the candidates themselves probably don't physically place the corflutes is, of course, entirely the point: the job of an MLA is precisely to take responsibility.
So, if you are not sure how to choose, at least one piece of evidence is literally all around you.
In 1912 Griffin's plan for Canberra, including a beautiful central lake, won the international design competition. In 2020, Andrew Barr's plan to fill in that lake is allowed to proceed before the election.
A speed camera is almost permanently stationed outside Burgmann School on Valley Avenue, Gungahlin. Placing a school on an arterial access road to a major town centre is dangerous. Arterial access to Gungahlin is poorly planned. While politically I favour Labor, it's time for a change of government to restore sense to ACT Planning.
I despair at the ugliness of our roadsides during the lead up to the ACT election. The smug grinning faces are bad enough, but I despair even more at the thought such a sign may influence someone's vote.
Demanding tax rises to fund aged care is a lazy approach. We need root and branch reform of the taxpayer-funded, profit-making cartels which seem to be engaged in a race to the bottom to minimise costs.
Ian Morison ("Cut the road toll", Letters, September 7) equates the road toll with coronavirus deaths. Road deaths aren't contagious, unlike COVID-19. The dubious use of statistics is not a substitute for basic common sense.
Dennis Callaghan (Letters, September 7) asks how China's "extensive building projects would fare without Australian-sourced steel". Unfortunately Dennis, China imports iron ore from Australia, not steel. It's another example of our inability to add value to our mineral resources.
Whilst driving home I wondered if, when the ACT government has finished "signalising" at one end of Springvale Drive, they will "duplicize" Coulter Drive from the other end to William Hovell Drive.
Hats off to Canberra Raider Jack Wighton whose words of wisdom on the weekend could be the wisest sporting comment of the decade. "Footy's a simple game" he said, "complicated by stupid people". Can anyone, anywhere, in any code, disagree?
Our excitement at seeing the first blowfly of the season, surely a record, inspired the following verse:
Hail to thee bright insect
Bird thou never wert
That from the landfill bringeth
Germs to us, and dirt
We acknowledge some assistance from a certain Mr P B Shelley.
M Greene (Letters, September 10) is onto something. If we filled in the lake the developers could really go to town. You might even see the return of the quarter-acre block.
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