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Canberra Today 24°/27° | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Covid free with one stroke of Chief Minister’s pen 

Dr PAUL KAUFFMAN, of O’Connor, leads the letters this week with a suggestion that, he says, could make the ACT effectively covid free. 

Dear Chief Minister

CONGRATULATIONS and thanks for your role in helping 99 per cent of Canberra residents, aged 12 and over, receive one jab anti-covid vaccination, and soon two jabs.

However, I do not understand why Canberra is out of step with NSW, Victoria, Europe and Singapore in not requiring vaccination before entering hospitals, aged-care homes, schools, shopping centres, restaurants, cafes, sporting facilities and theatres.

My family, children and grandchildren and friends, will continue to suffer unnecessary risk from the one per cent of Canberrans and an unknown number of non-Canberra residents, who will continue to present an avoidable and highly dangerous public health risk.

The ACT could effectively be covid free with one stroke of your pen. Can you, please, urgently reconsider your policy?

Dr Paul Kauffman, O’Connor 

An utter waste of ratepayers’ money

WITH such considered views by some people worth listening to in the letters page (CN October 21), I am amazed, disappointed, bemused; why is the Greens/ALP government rushing headlong with Stage 2 of light rail?

Where is the target for a bolt of common sense to stop this utter waste of ratepayers’ funds? The case for light rail must be re-presented before any further work is done; but who has the clout ?

John Madelly Sr, Melba

Solution looking for a problem

AS reflected by the excellent letters (CN, October 21), recent debate in other forums about the merit of light rail Stage 2 has taken an unfortunate turn with light-rail proponents resorting to personal abuse of those opposing – a sure sign that the arguments from light-rail advocates do not stand on their merits.

The auditor-general’s report confirms what we have long known: light rail Stage 2 is a very high-cost public transport option for which the economics don’t stack up.

Moreover, its construction is likely to cause harm to our environment. With e-buses (and perhaps other options) already offering far cheaper, more flexible, faster and environmentally friendly alternatives, light rail Stage 2, in Andrew Barr’s words, would seem to be “a solution looking for a problem”!

Ian Pearson, Barton

Shine a light on eating disorders

WELL done, Jon Stanhope, for the thorough analysis of mental health support in the ACT (“Mental health funding short changed by $106m”, CN October 14). 

Nowhere is this issue starker than in relation to eating disorders. Anorexia Nervosa has the highest death rate of all mental illnesses. Yet there are no specialist adult public or private eating disorder beds in Canberra. 

General medical and mental health wards lack the skills or resources. The community-based Eating Disorder Program is overstretched; it’s near impossible to see a psychiatrist while private, eating-disorder psychologists are booked up months in advance. Many have no choice but to take their loved ones to Sydney for treatment (an option made harder by covid) or struggle on with little support. 

A light needs to be shone on a broken system that is causing such pain and anguish for Canberra families. 

David Quilty, Deakin

Will Commonwealth Avenue Bridge come down?

THIS is the sequel to my earlier letter (CN October 7) and enlarges on the subject of a new bridge between the existing two Commonwealth Avenue bridges, with the tram using the existing northbound carriageway.

But first, it has been reported that the said bridge needs to be strengthened to meet current loading standards! How many of us have seen the underside of the Tuggeranong Parkway bridge over the Molonglo River, which recently was similarly strengthened? 

The underside of the Tuggeranong Parkway bridge over the Molonglo River.

The photograph shows the additional supporting concrete walls, steel beams and raking steel columns which now adorn the original structure. I wonder whether the National Capital Authority intends to inflict this eyesore on this elegant and prominent location over Lake Burley Griffin?

I suspect that they might instead opt for demolition and rebuilding of the 50+ year old Commonwealth Avenue Bridge!

Imagine the traffic disruption that would cause!

Either way, the disruption could be reduced substantially by combining the tram and strengthening projects and staging the construction so that the existing three traffic lanes each way on Commonwealth Avenue bridge can be kept in operation at all times with only minor disruption during changeovers. The first stage would be the construction of the new central bridge and the last stage would be the installation of the tram.

Nevertheless and like many other correspondents, I still maintain that we cannot afford more trams and that the “light rail” project should be abandoned immediately.

Denis Wylks, Holder

Chinese peaches, shame on Coles

MY husband recently bought a plastic jar of Coles’ “Sweet and Juicy Peach Slices” in juice. Imagine our horror when we read where they were made – “Made in China”. How dare Coles import peaches when our country grows its own!

China has seen fit to ban many of our products and I think it is time we started to stand on our own two wobbly feet and ban this kind of import.

I am disgusted with Coles. How many other food products are being brought in from China?

Jan Kicenko, Kaleen

Take more than the tram to meet targets

IT will take a lot more than light rail to achieve the ACT’s emissions targets.

The government’s target is to reduce local emissions to below 1.5 million tonnes by 2025.

In 2019-20 the ACT caused 1.7 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions, including a million tonnes from transport.

In the first 12 months of light-rail operation, Transport Canberra used 400,000 more litres of diesel, and caused about 600 tonnes more emissions, than it did in 2017-18.

It also provided 2.1 million more journeys.

We make 55 per cent of our trips as car drivers, 23 per cent as car passengers, 14 per cent on foot, 4.3 per cent by bus and 2.4 per cent by bicycle.

If we generously assume that three quarters of the extra public transport trips were made by people who would otherwise have driven cars, then light rail is replacing 1.6 million car trips per year.

A typical car trip causes two and a half kilograms of (CO2-e) emissions. So Stage 1 is reducing car emissions by 4000 tonnes a year, for a net reduction of about 3500 tonnes a year.

That is only one third of one per cent of our transport emissions.

Leon Arundell, Downer

Underwhelmed by Woden, but no surprises

THE underwhelming planning for Woden is not surprising given what our planning and transport ministers and their authorities have practised at producing for years now along Northbourne Avenue (“How to completely stuff up Woden town centre”, CN October 14). 

The moth-eaten, un-co-ordinated landscape for the much-vaunted “gateway to the city” focuses entirely on overbuilt forms and inflexible public transport infrastructure. 

It is already producing an unappealing, unbalanced, hard-surfaced environment that will intensify and be even more unfriendly to local visitors and tourists when more massive dormitory complexes appear along what is just an eight lane transport corridor. 

The benefits of additional urban forest inclusions, for example, have been ignored. Sterile “mixed use” cookie-cutter spaces that were not filling up pre COVID-19 will no doubt be joined by more in locations that many will find too hard to access and support in future.

Sue Dyer, Downer

Number of numbers and Barr bagging

READING Ian Meikle’s “Seven Days” column (CN October 14), I had to check it was not written by Jon Stanhope; such were the number of numbers and the amount of Barr-bagging. 

But no, Jon’s piece came later with more of the same, plus a graph.

And in “CityNews”, October 7, I had so enjoyed Jon’s article about the war service of members of his extended family.

Russell Wenholz, Holt 

Be consistent with non-vaxxers

THANKS to Greg Cornwall for the “No Vax, No Vote” suggestion (CN September 30).

I have an even better one.

As people who choose not to vaccinate will be virtually excluded from this society, we should be consistent and not accept their tax contributions also!

Irene de Silva, Queanbeyan


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