Letters to the editor - June 16

Surcharges bite

To celebrate my 60th birthday on December 27 last year it was organised for family and friends to go to a local eatery. There was a 15 per cent surcharge added to the bills, as it was a public holiday. On the day before, a public holiday, a local coffee shop added 10 per cent. Another holiday. Further down the track another business another 10 per cent. On the long weekend just gone a hotel bistro also 10 per cent. When did this become the norm. It’s beyond wrong, it’s greedy, it’s sneaky, it’s a bloody nerve. If a business wishes to open that’s their choice, in using that choice, it is not for them to slug the customer to cover their costs. Do the meals, coffees, have something extra in them? No, they do not, the customer does not get anything more. Do not use the excuse, ‘but we opened for the customers’. You opened for you and what you could get from the public. Just don’t open if you feel the need to increase surcharges. It’s not appreciated, biting the hands that feed you.

Vicki Walter, Warrnambool

Crossings to cause pain

I see "people" on Warrnambool City Council are going to put zebra crossings in Liebig Street at both the Lava and Koroit streets roundabouts. Are they aware if they do this it will cause people in the roundabouts to stop? This, under current Victorian road rules/regulations is a traffic offence. If a car stops and another hits it, the one that hits the other is not at fault. If you stop behind a car which stopped at the crossing and a car hits you it’s the one at the crossing who is at fault. Is the council prepared to pay all the fines and damages to the cars and pay any compensation to the drivers who might get injured because of their stuff up? Don't think so. Should be as its always has been, cars have the right of way at roundabouts. How hard is it to remember that?

Daryll Rae, Warrnambool

CBD crossing confusion

Cr David Owen (The Standard, June 10) overlooks one important fact in his recounting of problems with Koroit/Liebig St intersection and that is council’s policy of creating confusion by giving pedestrians a small plaque saying give way to vehicles, but they in turn have no sign advising of this. I find it is vexing to stand there when a car refuses to move until I cross, but on pointing out the situation to a council officer years ago was told "we like a bit of confusion and won’t be changing it”,  never a thought for the different ways people would handle the confusion, or for any image of credibility of officers. What depth of thinking other than motorist-bashing, informed the zebra crossing decision? Probably the same as for the enlarged and now restored roundabouts, with never a thought that people negotiate street crossings all over the place, what's so special about Liebig Street crossings they cant cope? The pedestrian traffic lights now give breaks in traffic. People can use to cross at intersections, where they must give way at well signed direction to all - what point do zebra crossings serve other than more dangerous pollution from endlessly idling motors, given the close traffic lights for unsure people? We inherited wide streets where cars can back out without stopping the traffic altogether – my wish for 2017 is we stop the destruction of this asset for 12 months and see how the two blocks work before destroying the heritage section between Koroit and Timor when just a proper levelling of the footpath would be great, and Koroit Street with its short stay,  post office and newsagent and constant backing out will be a disaster with one lane.

Shirley Duffield, Naringal East

Pedestrian safety at last

Twenty years ago, I contacted Warrnambool City Council over concern for pedestrian safety in the CBD. The response that I got, both then and over the following years, was a mixture of disinterest, and that it was in the ‘too hard basket’. In the end, after many years, I simply gave up in disgust. How good it is to see that our current councillors have come together in a common cause, especially after much dysfunction and fighting among councillors in the past, to improve pedestrian safety by the installation of crossings at or near roundabouts. I particularly applaud Cr Peter Hulin, who made pedestrian safety one of his priorities when he was first elected to council some years ago, and has pursued it ever since. We have to accept that the CBD is all about pedestrians. Without pedestrians, most of our CBD businesses would cease to exist. Let us not forget that once we get out of our cars, we all become pedestrians, and are owed a measure of safety if we wish to cross the road. I know that there is much opposition to the installation of crossings at roundabouts in the CBD and certainly it may well slow down traffic flow. But our population is ageing, many baby boomers are now approaching 70, and generally there are more people who are becoming slower and less mobile. So to all you car drivers out there (yes, I’m one too) who oppose council’s pedestrian plans, I say this: While you sit in your warm, dry comfortable cars feeling annoyed that the traffic isn’t going faster, spare a thought for those pedestrians out there this winter in the rain, wind and cold who simply wish to cross the road quickly and safely. I rest my case.

David Pearson, Warrnambool

Payouts shocking

After reading about the large payout to the illegal immigrants in relation to their incarceration I cannot believe the incredulity and shock at the massive payout funded by you and I. The issues with the judiciary being out of touch with contemporary societal values and expectations is far from new and as far as the separation of powers is concerned I believe the role of elected officials is to arrest the waywardness in relation to those expectations. Some of our officials have in the past held high positions with groups such as the refugee action collective and have provided pro bono representation for others of that ilk. This seems to be a huge conflict of interest and this settlement seems like a social justice warrior crusade that is at odds with the views of the wider population. The increasing lawlessness is yet another case of victim blaming and shaky moral compasses that have all but the vulnerable communities safety at heart. Instead of prosecuting dissenting political figures that are willing to call to account these lapses we should be examining their claims for the merit they may exhibit.

Scott Norris, Warrnambool