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Canberra Today 11°/15° | Saturday, September 25, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

More concern for criminals than victims 

Letter-writer STEPHEN JAMES, of Chisholm, asks that impacts that offenders’ crimes on members of the community – people who have lost someone to a murder, or who have suffered physical and emotional injury due to assaults, and people who have been subjected to sexual violence or who have been held up by armed offenders – should be considered, too.  

COLUMNIST Jon Stanhope has again raised concerns about women being strip searched in our prison and also the high incarceration rate of Aboriginal individuals (“Shane pips Mick when comparing strip searches“, CN July 22).

I wonder if he has considered that a thorough searching regime might well produce the low rate of contraband being detected by discouraging many inmates (but not all) from attempting to smuggle banned items into the jail.

Has he questioned why the people he is so concerned about are in jail? Could it be they have been committing serious crimes? 

Just once I would like to see Jon Stanhope consider the impacts that offenders’ crimes have on good, decent members of the community; people who have lost someone to a murder, or who have suffered physical and emotional injury due to assaults, and people who have been subjected to sexual violence or who have been held up by armed offenders. 

Also those of us who have had their homes and businesses burgled or who have had their motor vehicles and other property stolen or trashed.

I am but just one victim of crime in this town. Jon Stanhope appears to display more concern for the criminals than he does for those of us who suffer the consequences of their behaviour.

He really needs to re-calibrate his moral compass. 

Stephen James, Chisholm

Ideological tram to Woden

NOW that the government has advised that there will be some five years of intense disruption to traffic and the lives of taxpayers and voters, let alone a conservative $3.5 billion, over the five years, to get to Woden, I trust that Canberrans will now realise the ideological idiocy of light rail. Do not forget that the tram to Woden was but an eleventh-hour brain burst and 2016 election promise by the Chief Minister, with absolutely zero thought of the consequences or to the tremendous cost of an outdated technology. 

Already the propaganda has started with the article “Olympic moment could transform commute”’ (Canberra Times, July 22).

Max Flint, Coordinator, Smart Canberra Transport

Best thing about Canberra 

COLUMNIST Paul Costigan wants to stop the trams and spend the money on hospitals (“U-turn the tram, spend on health and housing“, CN July 22). How nice of him. 

What about those who don’t have a car and love the trams because they are smooth, frequent and fast? Why not spend the next 10 years worth of road and road maintenance money on hospitals? That would be real money. And continue to extend the trams as they are the best thing about Canberra! 

John O Ward, O’Connor

Stumping up for smartphones

ALTHOUGH I have a mobile phone, that’s all it is; no camera and no “smarts”. If we all have to have a smartphone to use Check In CBR and compulsory masks the government needs to freely supply them.

Lesley Malcolm, via email

No mention of subject matter

JOHN “ad hominem” Noble (“Letters“, July 21), doesn’t mention the subject matter of my back-to-back-with-progressively-more-information letters (presumably the ones on an alternative route for the Civic to Capital Hill section of light rail stage 2) that the editor saw fit to publish. The message is clearly worth repeating, especially after the ACT Transport Minister’s recent blatant spin on the comprehensive disaster that will be the current Commonwealth Avenue route (“Light rail works will cause years of road delays”,, July 21).

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Years of inner-city chaos loom

WHEN the ACT Planning Minister rushed to use his call-in powers in July last year to approve another set of plans for a massive supermarket/residential complex in the middle of the Dickson Group Centre, he chose to dismiss major concerns expressed at that time by the City Renewal Authority about the seven-storey building’s design, aesthetics, creation of long-term traffic problems on completion and tree-cover issues. 

“CityNews” responded in despair (“Dickson’s supermarket chaos ends and starts again”, CN July 13, 2020) over the “planning ad-hocery”. 

“This planning chaos started years ago under the watchful eye of the then-Planning Minister [now Chief Minister],” the article says.

“This car parking site was sold with no thinking about the consequences.” 

And, rightly, concluded that, for three years, “the stream of shoppers who are used to parking in the Woolies car park will be wandering around trying to find a park”. 

One year later, and one week into the loss of more than 240 car parks on this now-building site, it is clear that ACT government authorities, local MLAs and the owner/developer have failed to provide adequate practical assistance to those facing years of stress as they seek to use and support the centre and nearby facilities or just move efficiently around its perimeter. Many will simply go elsewhere if they can. 

July also saw this sorry state of affairs starting to be replicated only a few kilometres away in the city’s centre. The ACT government’s warning about the start of construction of 1.7 kilometres of Stage 2a light rail to Commonwealth Park and the early loss of parking areas also conjured up years of increased visual and noise degradation, more parking losses, traffic chaos and bottlenecks, and unreliable and stressful travel times for commuters in buses and cars coming to the inner city from all directions. 

Unfortunately the government’s new “multi-agency” Disruption Taskforce will only be addressing problems linked to the city centre. With severe impacts still likely in both Dickson and Civic on people movement, public transport scheduling and social and business connectivity in general, it sounds like the Canberra Liberals may have already won the 2024 election. 

In the meantime, can special attention be given to at least helping ambulances, fire trucks and buses get to their destinations promptly?

Sue Dyer, Downer

It’s not rocket science

VISIBILITY deteriorates more than 50 per cent at night when travelling east in the mornings or west in the early evenings. So why don’t our speed limits reflect this very obvious fact? 

Planting grasses or native food plants along median strips and road shoulders has got to be the most incompetent idea of most planning and road designers. They should be fired! 

We are intelligent enough to design roads and suburbs that will encourage wildlife to harmoniously live together. 

Change speed speed limits to reflect the changing risks of safety, enforced through average speed cameras, stop planting vegetation on roadsides and median strips, create overpasses for humans and animals to join up parks and reserves to avoid road ways. Gosh, we don’t even design bike paths adequately. 

When are we going to get smart about urban planning and road design? Seriously, it’s not rocket science.

Yana Delvalle, via email

Where was the news? 

HAVING been a reader of “The Canberra Times” for more than 30 years, I lost touch for a while until I was given a subscription for my recent birthday. 

Receiving my first copy, I wondered: “Surely there was a mistake?” when it landed on the front lawn. 

Finally getting rid of all the plastic it was wrapped in and going through my copy I was sure there was some mistake. Where was the news? 

Full page after full page after full page of advertisements, this was surely “The Canberra Advertiser”? 

Where was “The Canberra Times” I was given as a gift subscription? 

Cedric Bryant, Watson

A third world toilet problem?

I LOVED Danielle Nohra’s piece on public toilets (“Mystery of the disappearing public toilets“, CN July 29) and, yes, they are fast disappearing in ACT. 

Chapman shops no longer have any along with many other spaces used by the public. 

I also note that the Arboretum only has one, outside the visitors’ centre, for its 250 hectares. If down at the southern end or on the west side, you are a long way from a loo. Okay for the boys, they can use a tree even though many [trees] are still not all that large.

Lack of toilets is considered a third world problem, when did ACT become a third world?

Margaret Hawes, via email

Please explain ‘healthy exercise’ 

I AGREE with the general thrust of Leon Arundell’s letter (“Make the Move… in anything but your own car“, CN July 29). 

However, I fail to see how using a vehicle powered, ideally by renewable energy, could be considered to be “healthy exercise”. As Pauline Hanson would have said: “please explain”.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

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