Letters / Scrap ‘theme park’, build a National War Museum

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Reader JACK KERSHAW, of Kambah, wants to see the War Memorial expansion scrapped in favour of building a National War Museum.

THE physical arrangement of the National War Memorial, as a combined cenotaph and war museum, has never really been satisfactory. 

The central dominant section is a very fine cenotaph. The symmetrically placed, but separated side display components are limited and not clearly identifiable. That fundamental problem will not be solved by the planned profligate demolition of the fine new Anzac Hall, and the installation of a massive “theme-park” component, at the rear of the complex. 

That scheme should be scrapped and its funds allocated to a new purpose-built National War Museum, including indigenous elements. It could be built at an evocative place elsewhere in the Central National Area – for instance on the original National Museum site at Yarramundi Reach, opposite the Arboretum. Anzac Hall could be for a special namesake exhibition, directly linked to the main memorial/cenotaph.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

The Minister for Indifference

I WRITE to applaud Alison Chapple’s efforts to engage Minister Steel and City Services in the defence and maintenance of our urban environment, especially in residential zones (“Residents bridle against government’s neglect”, CN, September 3). 

I was particularly interested in the quoted responses from Chris Steel, of a type that have become all too familiar: robotic pronouncements to avoid any specific commitment to investigate the shortcomings complained of. They all ring true to this minister’s routine indifference, but also to his advisers’ behind-the-scenes hostility towards those who would have such issues discussed. 

I spent a year attempting to persuade known offenders to comply with the Litter Act, then another six months trying to engage Fix-My-Street and City Services in the same task without receiving a supportive response, before turning to the minister. 

His office repeatedly blocked requests for interviews and delayed replies to letters. When answers were finally extracted they were of this same species that steadfastly refuse to act on the obvious. 

More to the point, they convey the government’s reluctance to defend suburban streets and shared spaces or to ever prioritise issues important to mere ratepayers.

If ministers can be courageous and frank enough to simply state that their government is not presently interested in arresting urban degradation because the topic does not fit with current priorities, or because of fiscal constraints we can no longer afford this luxury, they might actually boost their own credibility and even win some votes. Instead we get stonewalling or the closed door in lieu of dialogue, and political minds impervious to the contemplation of the longer-term consequences of environmental neglect.

I recently received a sort of “peace-pipe” letter signed by Minister Steel, almost a year after he had postponed writing it. Predictably, it offered nothing to suggest he will now actually punish litterers – in fact nothing new at all. So why should he bother to correspond now?

Richard Gorrell, Belconnen

Another sad day for Woden 

THE ACT government announced the site for the new ice sports facility in Greenway, Tuggeranong.

It is now likely that Woden will lose its ice rink and pool. This is in addition to the basketball stadium, bowling greens, tennis courts and the pitch n putt – effectively the ACT government is overseeing the dismantling of Woden’s recreation precinct in favour of high-rise development.

I expect there will be one ice sports facility in Canberra so it should be centrally located to provide access to more people, the city and Woden are the two central hubs.

There is no transparency around negotiations with the owner of the current ice rink to redevelop the site into a double ice-sheet facility that is located close to public transport, hotels and restaurants.

The implications for the current facility are unclear due to the zoning for the site requiring a pool and an ice rink, it is likely the facility will be boarded up until a solution is found.

The ACT government is inviting thousands of people to live in apartments in the Woden Town Centre, however they do not have a plan for where community facilities will be and how they will connect to form a community hub for the precinct. They have not had a conversation with the community about it.

Fiona Carrick, independent candidate for Murrumbidgee

Pollies emerging from their cocoons

THERE must be an election coming up – politicians are emerging from their cocoons! 

I mostly don’t have a clue which pollies represent me either federally or locally. I know four names – Zed Seselja, Mick Gentleman, Bec Cody and Andrew Barr. I know Mr Barr because his photo is on all the local news and political info, and he sometimes makes an announcement. 

I know Mick Gentleman because I looked up the pollies to see who was responsible for the failed Coombs shopping centre and wrote to him. I received a well thought out reply, even if he did say he had no control over the centre. 

I know Bec Cody because she visited us before the last election and was very friendly. 

Zed Seselja is the standout because he faithfully replies to all my

complaints. He is also free to vote the way those Canberrans who elected him want him to vote because the Libs allow conscience votes and are free to cross the floor. Labor reps cannot vote the way the people who elected them want them to vote because conscience votes are not allowed, and Labor pollies must tow the party line. 

Rewa Bate, Coombs

Fast tracking a poor decision

ACT Planning and Housing Ministers lined up recently to announce, defend and eulogise the application of armour-plated “call in” powers that will fast-track the construction of a bulky six-storey residential complex within a swathe of long-neglected central Dickson land that is zoned for community and recreational use (“No surprises as Mick waves through ‘flawed’ plan”, CN August 26).  

By shutting down community engagement another chapter is added to the sad history of this precious area that has been set aside as a community land bank for decades.  

It also illustrates sensitivity to the veracity of long-established concerns expressed by local communities whose vision for the creative revitalisation of the wider location surpasses anything put on the table to date by the government and its army of consultants. 

It is strange that the Housing Minister also opined at the time of this announcement that she hoped that resorting to “call in” powers and fast-tracking planning approval processes would not “blemish” this residential project.  

In late December, under the cover of a real smokescreen and following weeks of consultations about her non-negotiable location for such a development, this minister also stepped in to short-circuit planning processes by issuing an interim effect order that placed the project on a “faster pathway” and ensured that a residential complex could be built in a non-residential setting.

Any blemishes attached to this excision of much needed community-use and green space land in Dickson will be of the government’s own making.

Sue Dyer, Downer  

There’s more to free Wi-Fi 

WHILE I am sympathetic to the (possible) links of free Wi-Fi to receiving spam, it’s far more likely Chris Mac (“Beware the wicked ways of free Wi-Fi”, CN, August 27) used his email address to sign up to a mailing list/enter a competition and it got picked up that way.

I might also help readers who aren’t that tech savvy (and could be worried by this tale) to note that it’s just not possible to connect your phone to a public Wi-Fi (or any Wi-Fi for that matter) without taking a number of active steps. 

If it connected passively on the day in question, it means you had taken those active steps to establish and remember the connection previously.

Either that or free Wi-Fi is part of a leftist 5G conspiracy to microchip us and establish a world government.

James Kendal, via email

Credit to good journalism

THANK you very much for “CityNews”. The articles and stories you bring each week are a credit to good journalism, long gone from the mainstream print media. 

Each week the read from the pens of Paul Costigan, Michael Moore and Jon Stanhope reinforce what good journalism written without fear or favour should be.

Advertisers play a big part in “CityNews” being able to be available each week. They pay the bills. However, the ad on the back page of CN, August 27) raises a question for me; unless I am horribly mistaken, the image is from overseas. The double powerpoint is not Australian. Your client should have thousands of images they could have and should have used. The main electricity supplier for the city, I wonder why they would even have this image in their file.

Please continue the great work.

Bob Connors, via email



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