Writing new chapter in city’s cultural story

MAKING HIS POINT: Journalist Kerry O’Brien during his appearance at the Newcastle Writers Festival at the weekend. Picture: Marina Neil
Nanjing Night Net

MY thanks and congratulations toRosemarie Milsom on the superb Newcastle WritersFestival 2016.

I think it says much about what the people of the Newcastle region want –and MsMilsom’s capacity –that ticket sales rose by 40 per cent fromlast year’s festival.

That is aphenomenalachievement andwhat a boon it is for the Civic precinct.

Great sessions, great writers, both familiar and new to me –this achievement ought to be celebrated as yet more evidence that the Newcastle region is a culturally active, diverse place.

And, as such, it brings money into the city.Just ask the Blue Door cafe in Wheeler Place.

Now, if we could get our art gallery expansion sorted …

Joanne Jay,Cooks Hill​Foreshore of shameWALKING along the foreshore on Sunday morning it was clear to see the aftermath of all those wonderful visitors who came to our city to fish for hairtail, especially along the front of the Crowne Plaza.

While it may be legaland, in some people’s eyes, good for the city, it would now be nice if NewcastleCity Council couldreturn the walkwayto its best.

It needs to get some workers downthere with some high pressure hoses to clean off the blood and fish guts that have stained the concrete.

Personally I think there should be no fishingallowed anywhere in the Honeysuckle residential or restaurant precinct.

Tony Mansfield,LambtonTrams and shamsTHEdescription of the proposed tram route and operation (‘See the light’, Herald 5/4)seems remarkably unchanged from the original plan that former Newcastle lord mayorJeff McCloy called for in the Newcastle Herald in 2013.

This ignores the protesters who marched down Hunter Streetin August 2014 a couple of weeks after MrMcCloy resigned as well as promises made to the Shooters and Fishers Party who carried the government’s transport bill, and also the complete rejection of the state government in all Hunter elections since the ICAC inquiry.

On February 18, 2105, the Herald reported the leakthat government advisers had rejectedthe Hunter Street proposal because it would cost taxpayers an additional $94million.

A series of sham consultationswith concerned citizens was followed by rejection of the proposal by many community groups.

George Paris, RathminesGloomy forecastMY oh my, what a dud we’ve been sold.

An interchange that looks like a Meccano set with no roof. Who was thebright spark thatdesignedsuch an area that willonly be efficient on a sunny day?

If you look at the artists’impression of where the light rail takes on passengers at Wickham, the only shelter looks like a bus stop and it faces south,right in the face of where the bad weather comes from.

And what of The Store building?

Now if that was incorporated into the interchange structure along with retail and other uses then we would have a decent interchange.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the rest of the money promised from the sale of our port. It has already gone to Sydney.

Phillip Mallows, StocktonMISPLACED PRIORITIESLASTweek, the Urban Development Institute’sHunter chapter stated that planning in the Hunter had been “adrift “ for 10 years (‘Calls for Hunter to have own say’, Herald, 30/3).

That is half true – it has actually been adrift for more than 20 years, with a fixation on closing the rail line to allow development on it.

No other item has been given priority,even though many transport needs have been obvious.

These needs have included faster trains between Newcastle and Sydney;the Glendale interchange;thefreight line west of Newcastle;the revision of bus transport in Newcastle;the provision oftransport to key locations such as theairport and hospitals;public transport in Hunter towns that have none;greater frequency of train services;night train services on Hunter Lines; improved weekend services;and, lifts at certain stations.

The latest draft planning documents for the Hunter Region do not give comfort for people waiting for any of the above and seems to be ignoring as well, environmental concerns, heritage considerations and social needs.

There is no indication of any processes having occurred to actually identify the needs of the region, rather this is a manipulative document to support the big end of town.The Baird Government needs to lift its game and consult with Hunter Region people before going to print with an ill-researched document that deserves to be shredded.

Joan Dawson, DungogASSISTANCE IS FUTILEWITH the highest number of displaced people since World War II, estimated at up to 60 million,and with no country in a strong enough position to take an amount big enough to make a worthwhile difference, I believe it is meaningless and futile for the United Nations to call for countries to take as many asthey can.

Countries that have fought their own wars so they can now live in peace should not be asked to feel obligated to take unsustainable numbers of people from countries that cannotfind peaceamong themselves, because of religious and cultural beliefs.

The wider world can be of assistance but not by the continuation of actions achieving no worthwhile end.

Allan Earl,ThorntonRace to the bottomIT was upsetting to read of the predicament of students forced to experience hardship because of the time taken to process their Austudy applications (“Pay delay unacceptable”, Herald, 2/4).

I realise that news reports never tell us the full story but I thinkmention should have been made in that article as to whether there are controls built into government computer systems these days to prevent adherence to the general belief in an old public service axiom which implied”continuous harassment keeps your application at the bottom of the pile”.

Bruce Brown, MarksPoint

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