Letters / Rubbish dumped at Chisholm clothing bins

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Overflowing donation bins at the Chisholm shops. Photo: Bjorn Moore

Letter writer BJORN MOORE bemoans the mess around the donation clothing bins at Chisholm shops. 

DONATING clothing is something everyone should do if you can and only so long as all items are clean and in good condition.

However, the negative issue has been emphasised again by the recent provision of new donation bins at the Chisholm shops (near Aldi). 

All previous bins were removed a couple of years ago and now these new bins prove once again (like so many others around Canberra), they literally just become a dumping spot. Old TVs, broken toys, all sorts of rubbish and even the odd microwave or wall oven can be spotted on occasion. 

Most unfortunately though, the much-loved donated clothes get thrown around the place, spill out of the overflowing bins and can become ruined, rained on etcetera.

This type of dumping has been a problem in Canberra for decades. Donation bins should not be placed in public places. Only staffed, drop-off type shopfronts should be accepting second-hand items. 

Our smaller local shopping precincts are typically in very ordinary condition already and this type of dumping just makes it even harder to make these places look a little cleaner and welcoming.

Bjorn Moore, Gowrie

Heritage exclusion for lakeside Lodge?

THE Commonwealth government’s reported exclusion of Attunga Point, on the southern shore of West Lake, from the imminent heritage listing of Lake Burley Griffin is a worry. 

That’s apparently to allow, as planned (somewhat secretly), the future Prime Minister’s Lodge to be built on that north-facing promontory, near the yacht club, free of objections on heritage grounds. 

However, the public would be excluded from the foreshore. The new Lodge site was originally to be south of lakeside Alexandrina Drive. Now, there’s clearly a preference to ape Kirribilli House, the PM’s harbourside residence in Sydney. So, in the case of Attunga Point, heritage listing could help preserve the lake’s integrity and accessibility. 

Elegantly bifurcated Commonwealth and Kings Avenue Bridges are to also be excluded from the listing, suggesting similar heritage paranoia on the part of the ACT and/or the Commonwealth, probably because Commonwealth Avenue is regrettably earmarked for light rail. 

So, again, heritage listing could be helpful in saving the bridges (recent official focus groups revealed strong community support for the preservation of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge – see the NCA’s Bridge Values survey.) Sensitive upgrades to the bridges’ safety etcetera would, of course, be acceptable. 

On the other hand, the admirable reinstatement or installation of some of Walter Burley Griffin’s missing elements, such as his shoreline geometry, or his Acton Peninsula and Causeway crossings, might be inordinately held up if the lake precinct is listed.

Clearly heritage listing can be a double-edged sword, and is politically malleable. The listing process of Lake Burley Griffin must be open, honest, professional, and inclusive for all; but not excessively restrictive. 

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Ramsay was a distant fourth

PETER Ellis (Letters, CT March 9) shows the born-to-rule mentality that currently infests ACT Labor in claiming that Gordon Ramsay had a “wafer-thin loss” in October’s election.

Throughout the count for Ginninderra the incumbent government coalition (Labor and Greens) had consistently just over three quotas. Once the list fillers were excluded Ramsay was a distant fourth in that coalition, over 1000 votes (13 per cent) behind Jo Clay. That gap only narrowed marginally as Liberal and other opposition candidates were excluded from the count and he was excluded 2000 votes short of a quota.

If Ramsay had been elected it would have been the greatest travesty in ACT electoral history. The short-voting gerrymander instigated under Labor almost paid off though. 

When ex-Liberal Bill Stefaniak was excluded from the count over half of his ballots were exhausted, creating the illusion of a narrow margin. Unsurprisingly, the ballots with further preferences marked flowed strongly to the Liberals eventually electing two with about two quotas.

Rather than pointing at the electoral system, Peter Ellis would be better advised to look at the failings of Gordon Ramsay as Attorney-General, where for instance, he allowed more than 100,000 ACT residents to be subjected to further arbitrary discrimination in the tax system.

Peter Bradbury, Holt

The buck stops with MLAs

THANK you, Peter Sherman, for your letter and photograph (Letters, CN March 4) covering Northbourne’s unsightly entrance to the capital.

This excuse for infrastructure screams: “Who’s in charge of quality control” and “How badly stung have the ratepayers been on this job?”. 

I can imagine people along stage 2 of the light rail already putting up barriers with signs saying: “Not over here until you sort the mess on Northbourne”. 

What is really amazing is that MLAs must be regularly travelling along Northbourne yet not one of them has cringed or shuddered at this mess. What’s the point of a Legislative Assembly with people nodding off on the job with oversight gone out the window. Maybe it’s time we got rid of top-heavy government and reverted to a city council system. Self-government seems to have failed in this instance.

The fix is fairly simple and carbon neutral. Don’t blame public servants or sub-contractors because the buck stops with MLAs. 

Just fence off the road and the light rail track and truck in a few loads of feral goats, camels and buffalo from the NT to chomp the rubbish back to ground level, fertilising as they proceed, then follow the recommendation of Peter Sherman. Easy!

John Lawrence via email

The PM’s split personality

ROBERT Macklin’s excellent and thought-provoking article “Our great continent has had enough” (CN March 4) is for me an unpleasant reminder of the split personality of our “accidental leader”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 

On one side is the man who was sacked by the NZ Office of Tourism and Sport in 1999, and by Tourism Australia in 2006 after his widely ridiculed advertisement with the theme: “So where the bloody hell are you?”. 

This personality also mouths platitudes such as: “We’ll get to net zero emissions sometime this century” and we’ll get there “by [unspecified] technology, not taxes”.

In the meantime, the other side of Morrison’s personality is doing deals with the fossil-fuel industry, which are guaranteed to increase, not decrease, carbon-dioxide emissions and encourage global warming.

Frankly, I don’t trust either side of Scott Morrison’s personality.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

More focus on safety and quality

THE WorkSafe commissioner continues her sterling efforts to shake up intransigent employers in the residential construction sector, yet it seems much more government and construction-sector reform is needed in the near future to deal proactively with those who flout even basic safety requirements on building sites (“Three worksites forced to stop work”, citynews.com.au, March 9).

In addition, it would be reassuring to know if the frequent discovery of serious safety deficiencies across many new-suburb building sites also rings alarm bells for ACT government authorities responsible for stamping out the building defects scourge that has afflicted so many new residential projects in recent years. 

Might not tin-eared operators who cut corners so brazenly on employee and public safety matters be doing the same in relation to building quality and design standards and other specific requirements set down for their projects and sites? 

Public confidence would be boosted by regular reporting by the ACT minister for building quality about all prohibition, stop-work, rectification or similar orders issued to fix safety, construction and engineering related defects, with updates about eventual outcomes. 

Given the many thousands of units and other dwellings already under construction or being approved for development in the ACT, more updates are needed about the ACT’s safety, defect inspection, auditing and rectification regimes and any plans for strengthening them this year. Hopefully the minister can be transparent about the gaps that still remain within these regimes and when and how they will be plugged. 

Sue Dyer, Downer 

Rudyard rolling in his grave

I HELD off writing this letter for a week, hoping against hope that what I thought was the case was not so, and that I was in error.

However, upon opening the March 11 edition of “CityNews” my fears were realised. In my mind it was confirmed that the English language is plummeting towards a fatal state of Americanism, for there, on Page 16 was the terrible confirmation I dreaded. 

The answer to the crossword question in the March 4 edition “What is the name of Kipling’s tiger?” was given as “Cher Khan”!

That moaning noise you hear is poor Rudyard rolling in his Westminster Abbey grave.

Henry Moulds, Wanniassa



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