Recently there have been correspondents (Margot Sirr, Letters, January 11) complaining about Australian eucalyptus trees. She, and others, have contended that exotic deciduous trees are superior.
Deciduous trees are inappropriate and a nuisance. Tonnes of leaves fall throughout autumn and winter and blow into nature parks, overwhelming native flora and fauna.
The leaves end up in Canberra's waterways contributing massive amounts of nitrogen, which is perfect for introduced species such as carp, not to mention blue green algae. Unfortunately native fish and water plants can't adapt to this high nutrient load.
Local birds need to nest in indigenous trees which don't lose their leaves; also older eucalyptus trees have nesting hollows.
Unfortunately Canberra's nature parks and gardens have not been adequately maintained for many years. Dead and overgrown trees and branches are being ignored until they become an eyesore and dangerous.
I've seen lots of exotic trees damaged and felled by the recent storms, admittedly fewer than eucalypts.
All trees need proactive maintenance in an urban environment.
Margot Sirr (Letters, January 11) refers to seeing many eucalypts felled or with branches broken by recent storms but no damage to deciduous trees.
A few years ago I had reason to read up quite extensively on tree safety and management.
One memorable observation I gleaned was that while one of the Californian university campuses had many Eucalyptus mannifera (brittle gum) trees it had not recorded one instance of damage from those. Damage from other trees, mainly oaks, was reported.
Another observation was that the 19th century common name "brittle gum" refers to its unusual grain pattern and resultant properties for milling and splitting. It does not mean the species is unusually prone to failure.
Another US study found that eucalypts in general failed no more often than the average for all north American trees when the data were normalised for the relative abundance of each species.
The reason that most of the broken trees seen in Australia are eucalypts is that we have many more eucalypts than other sorts of trees.
Bob Salmond (Letters, January 8) wrote "few places in this city are suitable for gum trees" and wants Canberra's eucalypts to be drastically culled.
He wrote of all the major roads in western Belconnen being "lined with gum trees", saying "a bushfire could race along these trees and very quickly engulf Belconnen": hyperbole if there ever was.
Eucalypts are certainly flammable - but so, for example, are pine trees, which are common in Canberra, especially in some older suburbs and in reserves such a Haig Park.
As I see it, the solution to Mr Salmond's concerns is not to remove most, or all, eucalypts from Canberra streets, but to space them so that a crown fire cannot develop into a river-like firestorm.
Alternating eucalypts with deciduous species such as pink or red oaks and plane trees, which have brightly-coloured autumn foliage, would both increase fire resistance and beautify our streets.
It has long been said that any law which cannot be enforced is, by definition, a bad law. "Let it rip" Dominic's announcement that NSW residents who don't register a positive result from a rapid antigen test on a government app definitely falls into that category.
How would the wallopers ever know? And surely they could be doing better things - like driving food trucks or stacking supermarket shelves.
The point is moot in any case. NSW MPs and their staffers have hogged a big chunk of the few available tests (at no cost to themselves) and the rest of the peons just can't get them for love nor money.
What penalty is going to be imposed on Mr Perrottet and his merry band for what amounts to criminal negligence in allowing Omicron to get out of hand in the first place by opening up at a time when everybody knew that would lead to disaster and in failing to order enough rapid antigen tests months ago?
Do we have to wait for the next NSW election or, following the lead of the stormers of the Bastille, could we not set up some people's tribunals and organise a few tumbrels?
Whenever we hear from a former senior public servant we should take notice. Ian Ring's recent piece is no exception ("Australia needs new leadership to face the challenges of the future", canberratimes.com.au, January 8).
Ring's question, "why would you [reform tax and address climate change] if your blinkered gaze was fixed firmly on the marginals and social media?" cuts straight to the chase.
Ring wants what we all want; politicians who "speak like human beings, and seem to mean what they say".
That is why independents will do well. They are not beholden to party politics, shackled by the "official line", or compromised by political donations - often from the fossil fuel industry.
Leading up to the election let's hear from more people like Ring who have experience working inside government and the courage to speak out.
I'm not sure if Margaret Ryan (Letters, January 10) is serious or just having us on with her concerns about the lake retaining walls crumbling under the wash of the proposed seaplane water wake.
Has she ever been near the Carillion when metre high waves crash into the wall there, hour after hour, when a strong westerly weather front passes through with no detrimental effect?
The wake caused by a seaplane would probably be no more than that caused by the police boat as it passes by. The lake walls are not likely to collapse.
I don't share Margaret Ryan's concerns (Letters, January 10) about potential damage to the stone walls around Lake Burley Griffin from the proposed seaplane operations. Three or four landings and take offs a day should not present a problem.
As one who spent four decades in the airline and associated tourist industries in Australia and overseas I welcome the seaplane initiative.
I am of the view flights should operate from the central basin rather than west lake. This would avoid disruption to the sailing activities of the Canberra Yacht Club which would result from the proposed morning and afternoon flights.
If one of the objectives of the NCA and ACT government's support for the flights is to make Canberra a more vibrant and exciting destination, why not operate the flights where they would be much more easily visible to the public; the viewing options for the Central Basin are vastly superior to those around the West Lake.
This would also give the flights a much more desirable connection to the city.
While I understand the NCA may be concerned about heritage values in central basin they can't have it both ways. Either they want an exciting new attraction on the lake or they don't. The DH6 Twin Otter amphibian is a fine aircraft with remarkable Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. It can take off in less than 600 metres and land in much less distance so based on overseas operations - eg dozens of flights a day from Vancouver Harbour. The central basin would be more than twice the length required.
This would need to be confirmed by the operator and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. With some tweaking, the seaplane proposal can be a wonderful tourist initiative for Canberra.
The delay by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke in "considering" whether to re-cancel Djokovic's visa is nothing more than political posturing. The decision was made a long time ago.
Anything less than Djokovic's deportation would inevitably result in a massive backlash against the government at the election. Scomo might not be the brightest thing on two legs but he is not that stupid either. He would have realised the public, and the substantial number of Australians who - owing to COVID restrictions - have unsuccessfully tried to return home after the closure of international borders, will be very upset should a foreigner appear to have been given a "free pass".
As not deporting Djokovic would be akin to political suicide I just can't see him staying here.
Propelled by ego, dazzled by livery, intoxicated by upholstery smells, fuelled-up by combustion exhausts and melting rubber fumes, pumped by the roaring adulations of the crowd, sensitivities dulled by endorphins and adrenaline how many "campers" would even recognise COVID-19 symptoms? ("Campers told pack up, leave if unwell", canberratimes.com.au, January 5.)
Where once people were urged to be tested for COVID-19 they are now being turned away and testing centres are being closed. I remember Donald Trump saying the way to reduce COVID-19 numbers was to stop testing. Do I hear an echo?
What evidence does Mr Morrison have for his suggestion rapid antigen tests are being "bought up, put on eBay, sold at extortionate prices, and then sent overseas"? He seems to be blaming migrants for causing the scarcity by hogging test supplies and sending them back to family. Looks like a strategy to deflect attention from the lack of timely action by his government.
Was AUKUS an Australian initiative dreamed up over on Russell Hill and then sold by Australia to the UK and US as a dazzling irresistible strategic initiative they could not but buy into? It seems unlikely, especially since not the PM nor even our thrusting Defence Minister is claiming credit for that. Could it have been generated in faraway Whitehall? Unlikely. Were we sold a blue duck out of Foggy Bottom or Virginia? Hmmm.
Does anyone else appreciate the irony that, in being advised to not line up for tests and thus reducing the true figure of those infected, we are now taking Trump's initial advice?
Tony Slatyer (Letters, January 6) wants the Black Mountain tower demolished. Don't presume to speak for others. This part of "most Canberrans" doesn't support demolition and looks forward to its restoration. It's been part of the scenery for years, and the first welcoming sign of home when returning from being away. It would be missed.
Rajend Naidu refers to price gouging in relation to rapid antigen test kits (Letters, January 7). I think we refer to that as "Can-do Capitalism".
Vee Saunders (Letters, January 7), asks if someone can plan something retrospectively? That's easy. Just look at Scott Morrison. First he has a thought bubble, then when it bursts, he about-faces and claims the change of direction was the plan all the time.
Good God Scomo, you failed to predict the coming of Omicron. What next, did you fail to predict that the Sun would rise this morning?
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