Letters / Meeting turns ‘feral’ as residents react to hospital plans

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THE Spire Project Public Forum at the Garran School to advise residents of the new building structure at Woden Hospital became feral with near all of the attending residents opposing the project.

Little or no public consultation had been held before the meeting about this building, which has had funding approved by the ACT government. The directorate executive “disappeared” early to attend another meeting leaving his female minions to take notes. The ACT Minister for Health was not in attendance nor was Chris Steel, our local MLA. 

I felt rather sorry for the Spire contractor who did well in holding on to his part of the meeting but could not answer lots of questions that really needed the government planners at the meeting.

It was made quite clear that the ACT is controlled by ‘”idiots” – a frequently used title. 

The new seven-storey building catering for 700 more staff, but no additional car parking for them or patient visitors, was queried. 

However the proposed new emergency entrance from Palmer Street and the helipad on top had most residents stirred up. 

I felt sorry for those residents of Palmer Street, sitting in front of me, who even now experience difficulties entering and exiting their properties. I would hate to think of the constant ambulance service and helicopters coming and going at all hours a stone’s throw from their front doors by 2024! I wonder if the ACT government will buy back the houses or pay deserved compensation?

The Woden Hospital is 50 years old and often criticised as unhealthy and should really be gutted and rebuilt – not added to on an island block over the road from a school that has traffic problems already. 

The helicopter also came in for criticism because it causes noise pollution flying 24 hours each day – seven days a week to the disturbance of Garran residents, many of whom built homes here before the arrival of the hospital. 

When the helicopter service was proposed the approach and take off were to follow Hindmarsh Drive or Yarra Glen. This does not happen and at night Kitchener Street lights are used as a landing strip. Although the service saves many lives it covers an enormous area of more than a 200-kilometre radius. Needless to say, it has outgrown the original intention of sporadic use.

Robert Courtney, Garran

Government’s ‘perverse behaviour’

PAUL Costigan’s “Canberra Matters” column (“The seesaw world of deciding fate of trees”, CN, October 3) is another insight into the perverse behaviour of and under our ACT Greens/Labor government. But Paul forgot to mention the “free for all” as bushfires approached in 2003 when you almost had to cut your tree/s down if your neighbour considered them a possible fire threat.

And what about the destruction of the bush capital’s vista as you enter the city along Northbourne Avenue and for what? One wonders whether the tree conservator actually exists considering what seem to be ad hoc decisions, or worse, when looking at the evidence.

Klaus Inveen, Macquarie

Raiders ‘dumb’ not to take penalties

THE NRL Grand Final was a high-quality game that could have gone either way.  

As much as I have green eyes, I think it’s a shame that there’s so much focus on the referee signalling six, then getting the tip-off that he got it wrong, which reverted back to the last tackle.  

To say that decision cost the Raiders the game is just wrong (there is a police alert out in Canberra saying the Raiders were robbed!)

For example, we couldn’t score a try when Cooper Cronk was off the field and Easts down to 12 men; so why such a strong argument that with the extra six tackles we could have scored with Cronk back on the field and Easts with 13 men? 

The decision to send Cronk to the sin bin was a disgrace. There are line-ball, split-second tackles like that each and every week that are sometimes not even penalised. I can accept the penalty but a sin bin offence, no way.

I thought the Raiders were super dumb not to take the penalty kicks early in the game. On both occasions we came up with nothing. Had we kicked the penalties we would have had points on the board and pressure on Easts. Plus, with four points and then the Wighton try, we could have led 10-8, which would have placed even greater pressure Easts.

In addition, the Raiders had 54 per cent of possession and all of the momentum, and yet we couldn’t turn that into winning points.  

For me there was no absolute single standout, just two great team efforts. I would have awarded the Clive Churchill medal to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Jack Wighton was a worthy recipient, however in defeat it will mean very little to him.

Anyway, the Raiders and its supporters have plenty of time to drown our sorrows and lick our wounds until the start of the 2020 season.

Mark Lynch, via email

Wright and Coombs would be shocked

THE letter from Colin Lyons on planning, or rather the lack of it, is excellent (CN, October 3).

The comments about new suburbs such as Wright, devoid of any trees, with large houses on small blocks and negligible open space, reflect an absence of ecological design, not to mention aesthetics. 

As Colin said, a sad commentary on what is being approved by the planning authority and delivered by developers. 

If environmental warriors Wright and Coombs were alive today to see what had been erected in their names, they would be shocked. These suburbs should be more fittingly renamed Ratty and Barr.

Murray May, Cook

A Christian’s struggle

TUT! Tut! How stupid for Anglican clergy to pray for rain! 

In his column, (“Sense is the victim when sabres are drawn”, CN, September 26) columnist Robert Macklin doesn’t mention that Anglican Aid has Anglicans donating to provide food and clothing vouchers, and free labour to assist with the feeding of stock, maintenance and everyday chores as well as providing free drought dinners.

As for “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war”, hasn’t Robert heard of spiritual warfare? “Ephesians 6” says that a Christian’s struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, using armour and weapons such as the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Robert does not mention that help for the poor and disadvantaged has always been a primary concern of Christians, with schools started by churches to help lift children out of poverty.

In Canberra, weekly requests are made for donations of food and money to help the homeless and disadvantaged. At Weston Anglican Church on September 29, St John’s Care requested, and received, donations of large tins of tuna, school snacks, tinned fruit, sugar and tinned lentils. 

Please investigate the full truth, Robert. Half truths are misleading.

Rewa Bate, Coombs

Black market defence is folklore

ONE of the folklore sayings about legalising cannabis is that it will virtually remove unlicensed/illegal/blackmarket activity in the drug – similar to tobacco. 

I would strongly suggest it must remain folklore. On March 9, the “Australian Financial Review” reported: “Illegal tobacco sales are flourishing in suburban and rural shopping centres, outraging retailers and frustrating renewed government efforts to crack down on a trade estimated to cost taxpayers up to $3.8 billion a year.”

“US News” of September 20 reported: “The United Cannabis Business Association, a statewide group of legal marijuana businesses, found that about 2835 illicit sellers, including storefronts and delivery services, are operating statewide. That’s more than three times as many illegal sellers as legal ones – 873.”

Colliss Parrett, Barton

Cedric is ‘spot on’…

CEDRIC Bryant, your letter (CN, September 26) is obviously spot on about the TV series “Utopia” being based on the ACT government. The episode about the Sunshine Coast tram, in particular.

 Denis Wylks, Holder

…No, he’s not! 

FOR Cedric Bryant’s benefit (letters, CN, September 26), I have checked out that there is no truth in the rumours that the ABC TV comedy program “Utopia” is based on the ACT government.

John Milne, Chapman 


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