Letters / Come clean on the trams, Mr Corbell

SIMON Corbell lectures us about “staying the course” with the increasingly suspect Gungahlin tram by rolling out the cliché it’s not about “what’s in it for me” – we need to say: “What’s in it for Canberra”!

He keeps up the rhetoric about high-rise developments lining the route and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Mr Corbell, like so many, I like trams but we ask: If light rail is the way for the future and you reckon that the government is committed to delivering the first stage out to Gungahlin – and maybe an extension to Russell and the parliamentary triangle as “possibilities” – then tell us the facts, not just one little bit of an illusionary jigsaw.

Even drop a few simple crumbs for we citizens (taxpayers, electors) for whom it is all supposed to serve – like how many extra dollars would those two little bitty extensions cost; how about the rest of Canberra – like out to the extremities of Tuggeranong or to Dunlop and Molonglo and other points east and west? How many extra billions for the ultimate cost – even in today’s dollars (which we know would escalate considerably over the eons it would take).

Maybe the opposition’s $915 million may be right for the first of many network bits? How many billions – and, with certainty, who pays?

Tell us in plain terms, minus hype, how you would expect that Canberra’s limited population can get excited to the point of exclaiming “this is not just for me – we are doing this for Canberra!”.

Or if, on the other hand, you have an inkling that we cannot afford to “do it for all of Canberra” but we should all “do it for a selected few” – then tell us!

But, please, stop lecturing us! We’ve heard it all before re other projects such as not taking expert advice on the size of the Alexander Maconochie Centre!

Len Goodman, Flynn


Chop the chopper?

I NOTE that Canberra’s electricity prices are expected to increase by 4.3 per cent from July 1 with the impact upon Canberra residents being compounded by a 14.4 per cent rise in gas prices and an average 10 per cent rise in rates.

Ric-helicopterAnything that can reduce utility costs should be considered and in the case of electricity I have concerns about the use of helicopters to inspect vegetation impinging upon powerlines. I note that the ACT government is also proposing the use of helicopters to discover illegal dumping sites.

Your readers may be interested to know that the small two-person Robinson 22 helicopter that I have been flying costs around 14 cents a second to operate. The large helicopter that the electricity authority uses must cost at least twice that, not including the cost of crew and observers. Why not use satellite imaging, drones or aerial photography from light aircraft to examine powerlines/dump sites, etcetera? After all, the Forestry Department is proposing to use drones and BP will use them to inspect pipelines at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. The use of helicopters for inspection purposes appears to be an expensive perk, but if the cost-benefits stack up, then I do not have a problem.


Ric Hingee, Duffy


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