Letters to the Editor – July 13, 2018

Why no general business?

My proposed notice of motion regarding the reintroduction of general business to council’s agenda was rejected by six councillors at the last Warrnambool City Council meeting. General business has been part of all council meetings for the best part of 100 years and it gave councillors the opportunity to advocate publicly for any citizen who had any issue they wanted raised in a public forum. The removal of general business three years ago drove a stake through the heart of freedom of speech at our council meetings and tightened the noose around elected councillors’ opportunity to adequately and fully represent the citizens of our wonderful city. Being NAIDOC week it would have been an ideal opportunity for all councillors to advocate on behalf of our aboriginal community and speak of the importance the aboriginal culture and history has to our ongoing future. The issue of single-use plastic bags also is an item that councillors could have spoken about. As a city which is dealing with this environmental disaster not only in landfill but also in our precious waterways, councillors should have been given the opportunity to speak. We are also now aware of the $3 million shortfall in the CBD redevelopment and once again councillors should have been given the opportunity to discuss this publicly with CEO Bruce Anson so that the citizens of our city could be fully informed on the way forward with this major project. When it is all said and done the rejection by six councillors of reintroducing general business back into the agenda of council’s monthly meetings is an alarming example of how secretive and controlled Warrnambool City Council meetings have become and the citizens should be asking, why. What are they trying to hide?

Cr Peter Hulin, Warrnambool

Alternative to wind energy

I attended the wind farm meeting at Hawkesdale on July 4 and put forward the views contained in this letter, but there was no response from the visiting officials. Wind farms in south-west Victoria produce the equivalent of their full electrical capacity for only one third of the time that they operate, so they cannot work without backup. In our case backup must be gas, as its 'simple cycle' (as used at the Mortlake power station, which has much the same capacity as Macarthur wind farm in full wind) is the only available system flexible enough to match the variability of wind. Some places use hydro for this purpose, but our hydro is fully committed. Electricity requirements are much easier to forecast than wind performance. If electricity alone were to be considered, 'combined cycle' which uses steam generated by heat from the gas turbine exhausts to produce 50 per cent more power from the gas, is the answer. This system would make wind turbines unnecessary, produce more electricity, and use less gas; all lowering prices. I call the presently-proposed system 'Energy Laundering' as it exchanges much wasted energy from gas for less so-called 'clean energy' from wind farms.

Graham Keith, Warrnambool

Liebig Street shock

Worked in Warrnambool until about 40 years ago when moved to the big smoke. Now retired, had cause to visit the area recently on a private matter.  Absolutely shocked at the situation in Liebig Street. Walked the street one lunchtime and seven people were walking the same block as me - between Koroit and Lava streets. Seven.  You have to be kidding. Council says it is setting up the area for future shopping. I went out and shopped at Gateway and had a fantastic morning tea at a little coffee shop there. Biggest piece of cake I have ever had (the staff offered to cut it in two and supply a doggie bag), with a mug of coffee, all for $7. It is patently obvious why people are not shopping in Liebig Street. Great service at Gateway coffee shop. Great parking. No parking at Liebig Street. Why even try to shop there.

Bruce Mitchell, Berwick

Thanks for generosity

Re my fundraising concerts in Warrnambool (The Standard, July 5). As part of the three-year fundraising Australia tour, classical guitar street performing for Lifeline, the total donation from three performances at the Armada Gateway Plaza was $577.35, and one performance at Woolworths Dennington was $163.60. All the donations will be forwarded to Lifeline Victoria branch (Melbourne). I thank you all for your generosity. As a reminder to you all, Lifeline is always there, 24 hours a day , 7 days a week. Please phone Lifeline 13 11 14 if needed.

Murray Mandel, Sydney

Re-think needed

The amazing generosity of the Warrnambool people has again been highlighted by the avalanche of funds, good wishes and dedicated support to the future Lookout Centre being developed by WRAD. The community that has shown such amazing support needs to insist that the leaders of this venture show the same level of commitment; that they make decisions for the right reasons and for the long term success of this program. Not just settle on a site because it is cheap, not just settle for what looks like an easy deal. Do their research thoroughly and realise that good things take time, look into all possibilities and all details that will impact on its success. Ensure that it is a long-term, successful community asset. The site in Dennington is not right for this project. It is too small to provide practical engagement for its client base. The working farm concept that is currently being touted has worked well in similar models because they have had the land to farm. There is only a small number of acres in Atkinsons Lane - you take away the space needed for the residential facility, an administration block, car parks and the land for effluent disposal as well as stormwater disposal – there is hardly enough land for a veggie garden for two people, let alone 20 residents on a long term placement, and definitely no room for expansion. It is too close to licensed venues, chemists and bottleshops to provide its client base with a suitable buffer for their addiction triggers. And too close to neighbours to provide them with any privacy. The road to the centre will need to be widened, the power upgraded, town water supplied and that is even before construction has begun. Please don’t insist on going through with this development. Take the time to get it right. Don’t waste people’s money, passion and enthusiasm by making the wrong decision. It is not too late to get it right.

Louise Serra, Yangery

Wind farm questions

I attended the wind farm meeting at Hawkesdale on July 4 as a local resident. Yes there were strong views put forward about the positioning of a wind farm so close to the Hawkesdale township as mentioned in The Standard’s article (July 5) and so there should be. It was blatantly obvious that long suffering residents near towers in other areas such as Cape Bridgewater have continuing issues long after these farms have been completed and should be applauded for supporting us at the meeting. What wasn’t mentioned in the article was that the Commissioner, in his own report, and one of his speakers at the meeting were not even in agreement as to the process of amendments to planning permits. The company intending to build the wind farm, Union Fenosa, was obliged to present certain documents to the state government, including a social and economic study of the: ‘benefits and   impacts along with proposed mitigation and monitoring which would ensure the Hawkesdale Wind Farm does not have any social or economic impacts’. I have read this report and although it indicates there would be no adverse impacts on tourist towns such as Port Fairy or Warrnambool, both over 30km away, there is no mention of the effects on Hawkesdale only 1km away. A further statement that the potential social and economic impacts were identified by reviewing stakeholder feedback and interviews and experiences in previous wind farm projects is disconcerting. I asked Union Fenosa why a study was not made of the town only 1 km from the wind farm. The initial response was that Hawkesdale was the centre of the report while later they said the report was a general overview of the whole shire. Obviously no in depth study of the town was made. Why was there not an independent study? The state government accepted the report. Council reports indicate smaller towns such as Hawkesdale need to expand and prosper yet the wind farm is positioned on effectively the only viable area for the town to expand under current and future legislation. A bit like placing the wind farm 1 km away from the entire north side of Port Fairy after all the land to the south is already subdivided.

John Bos, Hawkesdale

Repeal assisted dying

In 2017, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill was passed in the Lower House of the Victorian Parliament.  This bill can be repealed, if enough people care to speak out against this horrendous piece of social engineering, by expressing their concern to their local member for the Upper House. The local member Roma Britnell delivered her speech in support of the bill and claims to be proud of her achievement. I hope I have done something more in my life to be proud of than to help end the life of an innocent human being where their only ‘crime’ is to be old or unwell. Ms Britnell mentioned her experience as a nurse and the occasion when a woman was “screaming with pain”. While no one wants to see anyone suffering and in pain, it would be most interesting to know how long ago this experience of hers was. The advances in pain management and palliative care have made it possible to well control suffering without the need for euthanasia. Does Ms Britnell think she is the only nurse who has cared for terminally ill patients? My sister, a nurse of over 40 years nursing experience, believes that, contrary to Ms Britnell, terminally ill patients should be given loving care and as much pain relief as is necessary, not ‘put down’ with a doctor’s I.V. or a cocktail of tablets and left to their own devices in a room without any medical supervision. Overseas experience tells us that this can take not an hour or so as we might think but rather days. Ms Britnell’s speech claimed “…we should never kill, and this is not killing.” Mere semantics, Ms Britnell. Finally, in her speech, Ms Britnell claimed to value her education at the former St Ann’s College, here in Warrnambool and how she was taught compassion for others. I can assure you Roma, that compassion did not encompass breaking a fundamental Christian belief -  ‘you shall not kill’. 

Sheena M. Clancey, Warrnambool