Letters / Falling foot traffic starves old heart of Canberra

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“There’s no foot traffic through the old heart of Canberra, through places such as Garema Place,” bemoans letter writer PAUL O’CONNOR, of Hawker.

COLUMNIST Paul Costigan is on the mark again in “Canberra Matters” on April 22 (“Time for leadership in good landscape design”) with his remarks about poor retail sales outside the Canberra Centre. 

One major reason for this was passed over, namely, car parking. You park in the multi-storey car parks, walk directly into the centre, shop then go home.

There’s no foot traffic through the old heart of Canberra, through places such as Garema Place.

These desolate areas and closing shops will increase if and when the current government surrenders the current car parks outside the Magistrates Courts and the Canberra Museum and Gallery to apartment builders. Farewell Sydney and Melbourne Buildings’ restaurants and shops. We do not all ride push bikes or catch the tram .

Paul O’Connor, Hawker

Listen to the music, Paul

I WAS disappointed, but not surprised, to read Paul Costigan’s negative comments about the City Walk upgrades in Civic.

While he describes the “chairs, planter boxes, grassed area and other adornments” as “leftovers cobbled together to do something modern”, he completely misses the point of the area as a casual and relaxed space for hosting free music performances from a wide range of genres: jazz, folk, blues, indie, classical, pop and different ethnicities and styles.

For those of us working in the city this has been a really pleasant lunchtime experience even if the surroundings don’t quite meet the refined tastes of Mr Costigan. Perhaps he should get out a bit more and listen to the music.

Bronwyn Shirley, Narrabundah

Vaccine choice at any age

I AM the exact opposite of an anti-vaxxer, but my family has been haunted by blood clots in the brain, taking the lives of many relatives, most recently my brother. 

European scientific data about the AstraZeneca vaccine seems often ignored in Australia. Norwegian scientists recognised vaccine-induced blood clots as a deadly side-effect, documenting six cases among 133,870 vaccinations, one per 22,300 cases, before banning the vaccine. 

Four women aged 37 to 54, or one in 33,500 died, none had previous serious health issues, according to the “New England Journal of Medicine”. 

It is an encouraging sign that Australia is now funding the national production of mRNA-based vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna.

However, I am still banned from taking any of the mRNA vaccines since I am over 50. In most European countries I would have a choice of vaccines. 

The Australian 50-year cut-off age is internationally very low, although the UK practices 30. The EU mostly applies from 55 to 65. South Africa, Norway and Denmark have put AZ on hold or banned it permanently. 

People should be given the chance to evaluate the risks based on accurate information. Denying inconvenient science exists among those who minimise the dangers.

National production of mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna is welcome and when the alternatives arrive, let us have a choice of vaccines at any age.

 Børge Bakken, Belconnen 

Hint of urban design hope

THERE’S a faint but welcome hint of due consideration being given to urban design and architecture.

The recently announced proposed release by the ACT government of nationally significant land at City Hill, across London Circuit from the Melbourne Building, suggests possible commonwealth office space and other suitable uses. 

Actually, that consideration needs to be paramount; and the approving authority, the National Capital Authority, must ignore the posturing of the City Renewal Authority, real estate agents and financiers, and insist that the sole determinant as to who gets to develop the site, out of the list of pre-qualified bidders, will be the one that submits the winning entry in a properly constituted and binding design competition for the site’s development – including consideration of “the people’s vote”. 

Jack Kershaw, Kambah 

Ramsay’s loss was ‘unambiguous’

I AGREE with the views of  Peter Bradbury (“Letters”, CN March 25) regarding Gordon Ramsay. The decision by Ginninderra voters to dump him was unambiguous. 

Voters realised that Mr Ramsay had no concern for the needs of the community he was supposed to represent. His lack of rapport with people and his neglect of his electorate are the main reasons voters sent him packing at the first opportunity.

That Chief Minister Andrew Barr then quietly gives him a no doubt well-paid position, is a disgrace and demonstrates the contempt that they both have for the voters of Ginninderra and the Canberra community.

Was Ramsay’s new job advertised? Merit selected? Or was it yet another job for the boys to be paid for by ACT taxpayers? I think the Canberra community knows the answers to these questions.

Anthony Noakes, Florey 

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