Letters / Government ignores Canberra’s green losses

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“What is the Green Wing of the government doing to change the bad old ways of the Barr government?” ask letter writers GLENYS and PHIL BYRNE, of Florey.

THE recent “Temperature Check” report prepared by the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub indicates that, of all capital cities in Australia, between 2013 and 2020, Canberra experienced the greatest reduction in “green infrastructure”.

That is trees, shrubs and other plants in forests, parks, waterways, wetlands and gardens, and on green roofs and walls. 

According to this report, from 2013 to 2016 the area of Canberra covered by vegetation fell from more than 60 per cent to around one third.

Even though we now have more Greens members in the ACT government, the current Barr government is still not prioritising investment in green infrastructure to counter the damaging impacts of increasing urban heat and greater risks of flash flooding. 

What is the Green Wing of the government doing to change the bad old ways of the Barr government?

Glenys and Phil Byrne, Florey

All fine until it’s not

WAS I in Thredbo Village without the snow, a tilted Surfers Paradise without the sea, or a Tuscan hilltop town without the stillness? 

Actually, I was in all three, in Denman Prospect North, where transitory developers strain to outdo each other, apparently unbound by any stuffy old planning rules. 

The overall result, I have to say, is exciting and amazing, but alarming. A 100-metre long, black, three-storey wall is punctuated with a few random windows. Shops, and swingin’ hot spots are tucked under a cliff face of beetling apartments. A terraced park clings to a rocky slope, too steep to build on, evocatively punctuated with the Pines of Rome. 

Buildings shout at each other. Apartment blocks fight for glimpses of a creek flowing in the foreground of stunning craggy bushland to the north. Youthful, or young-at-heart residents will thrive there, untroubled by the lack of privacy, while the inevitable noise of neighbours, cars and air conditioners, is suppressed by earphones plugged into mobiles. Meanwhile, the waterproofing and structural problems of the hastily constructed buildings will lurk out of sight and mind – for the time being.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Progress, but not good enough

SOMEONE with influence on or in the ACT government must have read my letter headed “My street is a mess!” (CN March 4): things have finally started happening. 

First thing I noticed was two trees that had been dead for at least nine years had been lopped. 

I was also pleased to see that repairs had been made to broken and uneven footpaths in and near the Deakin shops. Then the shops became a hive of activity, with workmen removing hundreds of small concrete blocks from a paved area that, over the years, had become dangerously uneven due to the activity of shallow tree roots. 

I was told that the whole area was to be repaved and landscaped, including two shaped bench seats under the two shady trees.

On my way home, I noted that the two dead trees were now ankle-high stumps – but the metre or so tall grass and weeds were still there, along with two nascent but ominous termite mounds. Progress, but still not good enough, Mr Barr.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

Politicians need to catch up

HOW heartening to read of the enthusiasm of the ANU students who are participating in the 2021 World Solar Car Challenge (“Solar cars race to prove the power of renewables”, CN March 18). 

Travelling more than 3000 kilometres from Darwin to Adelaide using just the sun’s energy was not dreamed of when I was their age. 

And the event is popular. In 2019, there were 53 entries from 24 countries. Contrast that to the Australian 2019 Grand Prix for which there were only 20 drivers and 10 teams. 

Young Australians know their future depends on switching from fossil fuels to renewables. Our politicians need to catch up.

Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Victoria

Don’t blame the government

ROBERT Macklin (“The Gadfly”, CN March 18) lists three dangers for Australian men following the women’s “revolution”. 

A rearguard action could precipitate a bloody battle of the sexes which, with IVF, the males would lose. Secondly, hitting the booze and thirdly, opting out of all responsibility (America’s “Deadbeat Dads”) would not overcome, indeed may worsen, violence against women.

However, what can a government do, no matter how many demonstrations, to curb bad attitudes to females?

The cure-all (and sometimes cop-out) of education is a possibility, but no more than that if other teaching initiatives are examined that have attempted to raise standards.

Legal legislative steps should be avoided. Despite the honest and commendable behaviour of Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins in outing themselves, the law still allows anonymous verbal assassins to publicly name people – men and women – who, charged with sexual offences, subsequently are found not guilty: ADFA cadets and schoolteachers are popular targets.

However, ruining reputations is selective for how often have we read of charged (and guilty) adults having names suppressed “for legal reasons” (whatever that means), while professionals often enjoy similar privacy.

I sympathise with mothers fearful for their daughters, women victims and even those vindictive females whose lives, relationships and marriages have left them bitter and disappointed, but blaming a government will not solve this social problem.

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla

Why would Jon be surprised? 

IF the racism Jon Stanhope describes in his column (“The shameful politicians who don’t give a stuff”, CN March 4) really did happen, then there is something very wrong in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Nobody should be treated like this regardless of their race.

Why is Jon so surprised at the Barr government’s behaviour, they never have “given a stuff” about the people of Canberra, they continually go against the wishes of the public and do what they want all the time. They keep spending on non-essentials and do not fix all the problems or keep their election promises.

If the people of Canberra keep voting them in, they only have themselves to blame.

Vi Evans, via email

Nets may be the answer… 

CEDRIC Bryant’s columns in “CityNews” always include useful tips for the home gardener. In the issue of March 18 he wrote about caring for fruit trees and, as part of the article, he mentioned codling moth, which is bad news for apples and pears if not controlled. 

We have grown apples and pears in our garden for more than 50 years and I have demonstrated, at least to myself, that netting the trees is the answer. 

Over the years I have used the pheromone baits and the available sprays, with mixed success. 

A couple of years ago I put nets on two of my trees soon after flowering, and not on the third, while continuing with the baits and spray on all three trees. 

The netted trees gave us beautifully clean fruit whereas the un-netted one had significant codling moth infection. 

So, in the last couple of years, all three have been netted and no problems. And, I stopped spraying in February. 

With the combination of good spring/summer rain and the protection of nets, we have had the best crop on record for our trees – clean and large-size fruit.

We always look forward to picking up “CityNews” at the local shopping centre and reading the various articles. Jon Stanhope in particular is worth waiting for!

Peter Forster, Curtin



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