WRONG SPOT: Much opposition to the light rail plan for Newcastle is related to the decision to use Hunter Street, rather than the corridor. Picture: Simone De PeakA READER poll on your website says 55 per cent of respondents do not support the NSW government’s light rail plan for Newcastle. I suspect the main reason would be the decision to run the light rail down a reserved middle of Hunter Street, restricting cars to one lane each way and banishing parking.
Anyone who drives into the city regularly knows that traffic is much heavier and parking more difficult than it was five years ago. While there have been mutterings about provision of extra capacity on King Street and new parking stations, I’ve not seen any plans. I think the NSW Transport Minister said parking was the city council’s problem. This is a once in 50-year decision. My sense is it will cause instant gridlock.
There is a simple way to test this. Just put barriers down Hunter and Scott streets where the light rail reserved space will be. Leave them there for a fortnight. Observe what happens and survey people on reactions and suggestions. Then ask the community whether they want the light rail on Hunter Street or the corridor – a postal plebiscite would be cheap and easy.
Kevin Fell,Cooks HillAnd we’re still waitingAT the end of the Second World War plans were afoot for an express bypass from the Belmont-Swansea area into Newcastle. That plan has disappeared. Then we had then you-beaut Charlestown-Sandgate bypass and that has become a never-ending project going back several decades and involving state governments of both persuasions.
All the while the population and the reliance on motor cars has increased at an alarming rate, until today, where we have clogged roads, traffic delays and a partly finished bypass, now aptly named the “Newcastle Inner City Bypass”. And thrown into that mix we have had, for 20-plus years, one of the largest general hospitals in NSW established, which has to service not only Newcastle and the immediate area, but a very large portion of the state.
Out of all this we have accumulated chaos, confusion and frustration (‘Gridlock’, Herald,5/4) with respect to getting into or out of John Hunter Hospital. It seems that the Sydney-centric planners somehow believe all we need is a part interchange. This begs the questions: What does Newcastle have to do to get a full interchange? When will this project be commenced?We all wait with bated breath.
David Barrow,MerewetherSome ‘true cost’ detailsIN reply to the opinion article ‘True cost of coal-fired power’ (Herald, 6/4).This author conveniently ignores that if an arrangement exists for cheap domestic coal prices, then the cheap cost of coal is not a myth.
In Australia, power stations typically sign multiple long-term (say 20-year) contracts with local coal companies and they renew them as they expire. When a contract is about to expire, other contracts are in place during negotiations for a new contract, giving guarantee of supply at a low price.
On a technical note, export prices have a built-in cost of firstly transport to port, usually by rail; secondly, export coal royalties to the federal government and; lastly, port charges. This can total more than $30 per tonne.When calculating “export parity pricing” all of these costs are removed from the export price to determine the actual price for local domestic customers.The writer also ignores the stable “reliability” of supply that a coal-fired power station provides.
Allan Pryor,FigtreeMayor’s spending OKI’LL be honest. I don’t like this city’s lord mayor or her politics but the report on her expenses is, I think, the ultimate in nitpicking (‘On the card’, Herald,6/4).
We invite someone (Kamahl) to our event and we put him up in a good hotel at what looks like a very normal price and we highlight that? We do very normal things, well normal to any business, let alone the business of the sixth largest city in the country and then we make a big deal about what is, I think, very modest expenditure. Where is the largesse? What, no helicopter rides? No wild parties? Just a little wine and dine.
Garry Robinson,Mannering ParkA matter of faithNEVILLE Aubrey (Letters, 5/4) is right in stating “If the Christians are right, we are all missing out”. If atheism is true, nobody, including Christians, has anything to hope for beyond this life. The odds that Neville seems to infer are: Heads I might win, tails I lose anyway – so Christians do have the best chance. I would back a faith based on consistent separate records written by seven literate men who were either close associates of Jesus or were part of the history. At least three of these eyewitnesses were highly educated. At the time, desperate Jewish authorities resorted to bribery and corruption to deny that Jesus was alive again but events shortly afterwards left egg on their faces. It’s time for us to accept the truth.
Alton Bowen,WallsendWe need full interchangeI CAN’T understand why the state government flatly refuses to provide a full interchange on the Inner City Bypass for access to the John Hunter Hospital.
Having just a half interchange doesn’t make sense.Many more ambulance trips to the hospital are made from the more heavily populated areas to the south.It’s essential that these are able to use the bypass as well as those from the north.Expecting ambulances to contend with congested traffic on Lookout Road is, I think, sheer stupidity.
Peter Newey,HamiltonBetter care for sufferersA NEW report has found the number of people with dementia in Australia has soared to more than 400,000 – that’s one new case every six minutes – with a cost of more than $14 billion this year alone.
If nothing is done to reduce the incidence of dementia, the cost will blow out to more than $18 billion by 2025, and more than double to $36 billion in less than 40 years, as the number of people with dementia soars to a staggering 1.1 million people by 2056.
We still do not have a fully-funded national strategy to provide better care and outcomes for people who are living with dementia now, nor are we taking risk reduction seriously.Dementia can be a confronting, isolating, confusing and difficult disease to live with. But your readers living with dementia are not alone. We encourage people to contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
John Watkins AM, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW,Professor Henry Brodaty AO, University of NSW