Letters / ‘Desecration’ of Northbourne Avenue

THE proposal to remove all trees from the median strip of Northbourne Avenue is a desecration of the principal vehicular entry to Burley Griffin’s unique “bush capital”.

quillReplanting Northbourne Avenue with Brittle Gum, which has earned a reputation for shedding limbs, will increase the risk to the overhead lines of the proposed Gungahlin tram

If indeed the NCA considers itself  the “trustee of the National Capital” it should endorse an alternative to the “scorched earth” policy proposed by the ACT for Northbourne Avenue by applying the Pareto principle.

That is, by removing 20 per cent of the trees on the western half of the median strip it would retain afternoon summer shade for commuters.

Likewise, by retaining 20 per cent of the trees on the eastern half it would open up the median strip to the morning winter sun. This would not only save half the trees, but add to the comfort of morning and evening commuters year round.

Griffin’s vision for Canberra and his travails with public works bureaucrats are well documented, here’s hoping the NCA does not add another chapter.

David Dickson, Kaleen

Disgusted by ‘wasteful’ government

THE article on Jolimont Centre being a disgrace is spot on (Grumpy, CN, March 24). The author is right.

For the ACT government to spend millions on light rail, Northbourne footpaths and roads in Woden Valley that don’t need repairs or upgrade (eg, my area around Garran), yet lets the bus station be so tiny and disregarded is disgraceful.

I, too, wrote to Murray’s about the behaviour of one of its drivers, but got no response.

The centre is dirty, homeless people sleep there and it’s generally seedy – like much of the perennially neglected Melbourne and Sydney buildings.

All told, I’m disgusted with this government. It’s wasteful and its priorities for spending on public facilities highly dubious.

Greta Nielsen, Garran

Tram mandate, what mandate?

RE the proposed tram. I keep hearing “mandate, mandate”. How can Messrs Barr and Corbell believe they have a mandate? On a two-party vote at the 2012 election they, Labor, lost.

Admittedly, not by much but the Liberals won. Labor’s relying on the support of one Green is not a mandate, that’s an “oh, thank you, thank you” Mr Rattenbury.

Michael Attwell, Dunlop

Up the Trail… by light rail?

YEARS ago, in a forgotten war, I did a bit of deep jungle-bashing with rifle, ammunition, backpack, six other frightened nashos and a subaltern with acne and a tendency to panic. What follows might be considered the outcome of that traveller’s tale.

Kokoda creates its own awe and many of us consider it as near-holy ground because, back in 1942, a Japanese invasion of the Australian mainland seemed inevitable.

PNG has an unenviable air-safety record and this, combined with the growing number of Australian trekkers who fall by the wayside, made me wonder whether a light railway might not be constructed alongside the Kokoda Trail? It’s only 100 klicks, of which more than half is more or less straight, the sort of thing trains like. There is a bit of up and down but modern engineering should easily cope.

I visualise air-conditioned carriages slowly making their way inland, allowing pilgrims to witness, then ponder, the sort of impossible conditions in which our young Diggers fought so gallantly. There is no disrespect here, only an acknowledgment that the route wends its way through climate and terrain extremely unfriendly to older Australians.

Precedent exists in government funding for the growing number of Australians visiting Gallipoli and the Western Front. Plus, I reckon the train could provide much-needed work opportunities for the people of PNG.

These possibilities are worth serious consideration by an Australian government that would, I’m sure, be delighted to be seen as contributing in a meaningful way to the welfare of our northern neighbour.

My plans are made and should it happen in my lifetime, I’ll be on the first train.

Roger Marchant, Lyneham

In Bernie she trusts

IN columnist Robert Macklin’s take on the media in the US and Australia (CN, March 24), I agree that ABC Radio National and TV are the best and most balanced source of news.

However, his use of adjectives describing Trump as “exciting” and Bernie Sanders as “whacky” should be reversed. Bernie has had the greatest turnouts at his events (over 30,000 in Seattle) and the most diverse support of any of the candidates in the US. Bernie is the only candidate generating excitement and hope for positive change.

Pamela Collett, Narrabundah



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