The dreadful before and after photos of recent fire-ravaged towns and suburbs in California show very few trees burnt.
But the same photos show the houses are crammed together with their roofs almost touching.
These fires have obviously spread from house to house and were not accelerated by the small number of surviving street trees.
In some areas no houses were spared.
Most of our new suburbs, such as Crace and Wright, look almost identical to the suburbs shown in the American photos.
Can our fire chiefs assure us we haven't built in the same problem?
Chris Emery, Reid
We are at risk
Chief Minister Andrew Barr claims the chances of the coronavirus flaring-up in the ACT are "seemingly pretty low now", ("Unfair to focus on Qld border, Barr says", September 13, p.3).
This is predicated on more than 60 days since a positive case has been detected in the ACT. The problem is the number of days remains stubbornly zero in NSW with which we share a "bubble".
The ACT's appeal to exceptionalism is preposterous in view of recent substantial flare-ups in South East Asia, Europe, USA, and elsewhere after precautions were relaxed.
This unwarranted attitude of "it won't happen here" belongs in gambling and nothing but science-based, tough but fair decisions apply in this pandemic. The stakes are too high.
Jorge Gapella, Kaleen
Juukan governance failure
Good on Barbara Livesey calling on the federal government to stop further destruction of Australia's ancient Indigenous heritage sites such as the Juukan caves (Letters, September 15).
Missing from much of the debate about this appalling event is the lack of accountability of the federal government which has a responsibility to protect heritage and environmental sites of global significance.
Instead, especially under successive Coalition governments, heritage staffing levels in the now Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment have shrunk to nearly zero. Overall environmental function staffing levels have shrunk by about 40 per cent from levels under Labor.
To make it worse the Morrison government now wants to devolve federal environment and heritage approval powers to the states and territories.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
Vote buying? Really?
I find it interesting to read all the recent election promises from the major parties in the upcoming ACT election.
While the Liberals have made a number of election promises "if elected" in October, Labor and the Greens have also made a number of election promises "if elected".
I find this rather strange.
Why are Labor and the Greens making promises "if elected"? They are the incumbent government and don't need to wait for an election.
They should either have already done what they are promising to do or just get on with it and do it now.
It sounds like they are trying to buy votes.
H Zandbergen, Kingston
I recently parked in a disabled spot for 10 minutes while delivering my grandchild to her mother at the Boundless playground.
There were five other vacant disabled spots - as there usually are - but no vacant ordinary car park spots as there usually aren't. The fine was $651.
Okay, I should not have parked there even for 10 minutes. When I discussed this excessive fine with a Labor candidate he told me it was Labor values to impose such a fine.
I'll take my values and vote Green.
Chris Richards, Griffith
Diana Nelson (Letters, September 8) should check the law.
Walkers do have priority over bike riders on shared paths due to the speed that bikes can achieve, and the risk to vulnerable walkers including toddlers, old people and the disabled who need exercise too.
Cyclists are required to use their bells when passing as walkers cannot know when a bike is about to silently pass them, and so may step out and get hit.
Jennifer Manson, Kingston
We must all be thankful that the two Australian journalists have returned home safely after questioning by the Chinese authorities.
However we should note that neither was pregnant at the time, handcuffed, in their pajamas, had their children looking on, or had their phones confiscated by an over-zealous police officer.
This happened to young mother, Zoe Buhler, in her home in Ballarat, Victoria. In Australia.
Christina Faulk, Swinger Hill
An overdue admission
I'm pleased that Shane Rattenbury is delivering us batteries to avoid blackouts "when large fossil fuel generators fail in heatwave conditions." ("Two big batteries coming to Canberra", September 9, p4).
That's not because I think they're a good idea. It is because Mr Rattenbury has finally admitted, even if inadvertently, that his claim the ACT's electricity supply is 100 per cent renewable is not true.
Stephen Jones, Bonython
City of despair
As a long-term Canberra resident I despair of what is happening to our once beautiful and unique city. The announcement of the West Basin development is just another nail in the coffin.
Canberra did have a certain quality, particularly the central area and surrounding hills and mountains, in the wonderful plan created by the Griffins.
This is being eroded by the Barr government who cannot see beyond the next development. Our heritage is being lost and soon we will be like the apartment-infested Gold Coast. What a thought.
While I am critical of the Barr government, I am even more critical of the Greens who seem to be hand in glove with Labor on planning issues and inappropriate developments.
Can anybody remember the last time the Greens stood up to the Chief Minister on a major development?
Come on Shane, show that you care about Canberra as a whole and you do give a rodent's posterior about these planning issues.
Phil Creaser, Canberra City
We're losing it
Fiona Carrick hits the nail on the head (Letters, September 10). Slowly, over the last decade, Woden has seen varied sports venues demolished (pitch and putt, bowling green, tennis court), to make room for more and more apartments. And now, an event many have feared, the 50 metre swimming pool and the ice rink are doomed to also be demolished to make room for more high-rise developments. Where does Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury think these residents (and the many families and older Canberra citizens living close by) are going to stay fit and healthy? You've got my vote Fiona.
Cathy Connor, Mawson
China is in a position to impose devastating economic sanctions on Australia by sourcing its supply of iron ore from elsewhere unless we sacrifice our own interests to the edicts of the Chinese Communist Party.
ANU research has shown that with ample sunshine, water, and high quality iron ore, our north west region could be the base for a huge "green steel" industry. No coal is required. Iron is converted into all sorts of steel by the addition of small amounts of other elements.
The initial investment would be huge but there is little doubt Australia would be able to export low-priced green steel to the world and not have to worry so much about vulnerability to trade pressures from China.
I am no fan of our federal government, but to its credit it has created a $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund. I would suggest this funding be increased considerably and deployed as rapidly as possible. Superannuation funds should be encouraged to join in.
Australia has a woeful record for following through on promising research. This is an opportunity which must not be missed.
James Gralton, Garran
Get moving Nationals
It is National Party dogma that all business can be carried out cheaper, more effectively, and generally better in the bush than in our frantic, polluted cities.
The koala kerfuffle shows living and working in Sydney has lowered the effectiveness of the NSW National Party to rock bottom. It's therefore time for all NSW National MPs to decentralise themselves to the pure air and relaxing seclusion of Orange. If it's good for the agriculture department...
G T W Agnew, Coopers Plains, Qld
TO THE POINT
IT'S A MIRACLE
I had a surreal experience recently. I was jogging along a shared path when I heard a "ding" from a bicycle approaching from behind. I raised my hand to acknowledge the warning. As the rider passed I thanked them. They thanked me (not sure for what). Why can't life on the shared pathways be like that all the time?
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
MYSTERY TO SOME
Sadly David Perkins (Letters, September 10) might have to explain his "Pig Iron Scott" reference. History and learning from it is not our forte. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the same shortcomings that Ben Chifley sought to correct after World War II. When will we ever learn?
David Groube, Guerilla Bay, NSW
RICH KIDS IN LYCRA
Why this obsession with hordes of cyclists in France? A web search turned up the answer. Apparently 2.3 million euros is on offer to winners. What a farce.
David Hutchinson, Richardson
THE WHINGEING SEASON
How would we know there was an election if it wasn't for all the old codgers writing in about the visual pollution caused by the corflutes. It's called democracy people. Let's just get over it.
M Moore, Bonython
WHAT A WINNER
Naomi Osaka did not only win the US Open, she won the hearts and minds of people in America and around the world who fight for racial justice, and an end to police brutality against people of colour. She is a true champion.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
NOT SO SIMPLE
No, N. Ellis (Letters, September 11), filling the lake would lead to some developer deciding the new "suburb" ought to have a picturesque water feature, like a lake.
James Mahoney, McKellar
Re: "Expanding corflute numbers just a sign of election times" (September 8, p8), this reflects a confluence of corflutes. Fortunately, this only occurs at election times.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW
WE NEED A PLAN
The proponents of the Fyshwick recycling proposals could have saved $3 million, and residents a deal of worry, if the Planning Minister had told them on day one their ideas were incompatible with the Fyshwick Master Plan. Oh sorry, what master plan?
Peter Haddon, Jerrabomberra, NSW
IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE
Thank you, Nicholas Stuart ("ACCC's Facebook deal fixes nothing" (canberratimes.com.au, September 7). You showed how, once again, a simple solution - to just charge for content - is no match for a complex problem - to maintain prosperous quality journalism in an age of social media behemoths.
John Young, Curtin
THE EARS HAVE WALLS
So, now, as well as ASIO, we have to worry about the Chinese spying on us. Who's next? The CIA?
John Rodriguez, Florey
I was watching the ABC on Tuesday morning. The PM has a vision for the future. It's a real gas...
N Ellis, Belconnen
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