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Canberra Today 13°/16° | Saturday, September 25, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Tram plans should not proceed unquestioned

“The tram does not stack up environmentally and, despite ‘motherhood statements’, the proponents have not supplied justifying environmental data,” says letter writer PENLEIGH BOYD, of Reid. 

MANY supporters of the Canberra tram, at least those I have spoken to, actually know very little about it. Sure, the new glossy looks and smooth ride are seductive, but beneath the surface some facts are worth considering.

It is expensive. Stage 2 will cost some $4300 per Canberran: man, woman and child. We haven’t yet paid for stage 1. For how long will Canberrans be financially compromised by the tram?

It is slow. 30 minutes Woden to Civic with no opportunity for a full tram to go express for the rest of the journey. By comparison an express bus takes half the time.

It locks us into 19th century transport technology for decades to come. As long as future transport developments involve steel wheels on rigid fixed tracks, we should be alright!

The construction causes more pollution than is ever saved. The tram does not stack up environmentally and, despite “motherhood statements”, the proponents have not supplied justifying environmental data.

It is not good enough for the ACT government to say that because people voted for them, and knew the tram was part of their policy, it should proceed unquestioned. Let us revisit the matter. The ACT government should give a present-day, realistic financial and environmental justification for stages 2a and 2b before proceeding.

Penleigh Boyd, Reid 

Yes, but which ‘original design’?

PAUL Costigan in his column about the NCA (at least some of which I agree with) in the July 8 edition of “CityNews” mentions West Basin and “the values of the foreshore’s original design”. I question: which “original design”?

Does he mean Griffin’s design, which was a formal circular arc, similar to what has recently been recreated?

Or does he mean NCDC’s design, which was a regular horseshoe shape (see Lovell Chen Heritage Impact Statement on the lakeshore reclamation work)?

Surely, he doesn’t mean the foreshore after blasting Parkes Way through this area (and Commonwealth Park), which completely changed the lake edge into an awkward irregular shape?

For better or worse, the National Capital (Planning) Authority has been floating (sorry) proposals to get back to more like Griffin’s design since the early 1990s and these were included in a major amendment to the National Capital Plan in 2006.

Richard Johnston, Kingston

Skin’s the thing

DAVID Jones (“Letters”, CN July 8) takes exception to the terms “vegan leather” and “pleather” and calls for the use of accurate terms to describe products.

Perhaps we could start by referring to leather as “animal skin”. 

Deborah Edwards, Weston

Zed’s ‘amateurish’ views on drugs

THANK you, Michael Moore (“With Zed’s poll, Canberrans look second class”, CN July 8) for exposing Senator Zed Seselja for his well-known amateurish views on drug policy with no appreciation of proven management approaches through harm minimisation, reduction, and supply measures. 

A sad diatribe from Zed with no empathy or regard for the handling of a health and community issue.

David Templeman, chair Karralika Programs ACT

Not second-class citizens

MICHAEL Moore’s column on drug reform (CN, July 8) suggested Senator Zed Seselja’s poll was to help federal authorities pre-empt Michael Pettersson’s Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021 and that it made Canberrans look like second-class citizens. 

In my view that is a derogatory statement to make about his fellow Canberrans. 

Tens of thousands of Canberrans may not agree with Michael’s views on illegal drugs – including his support for decriminalisation/legalisation of some – nor that Canberrans look like second-class citizens because they responded as they wished to a drug poll.

Colliss Parrett, Barton 

The purpose is humiliation

I WAS interested in the column “Shame: woman a day stripped naked by guards” (“Seven Days”, CN July 8) because I have been reading Cardinal George Pell’s “Prison Journal, Volume 1”, in which he describes being regularly strip searched and drug tested in prison in Victoria. Racism by the guards? I very much doubt it, but we don’t know the guards’ racial composition. A drug user? Nonsense. A shiv hidden somewhere on his body? Nonsense. 

The purpose is humiliation. Where was the Melbourne-based Human Rights Legal Centre when this shameful activity was occurring under their noses? 

Strip-searching women and men for humiliation is wrong in Canberra’s AMC and it is wrong in Victoria’s prisons, too. 

John Farrands, via email

Seaplane passengers can take a hike

THE hard, exposed stretch of West Basin walkway currently under construction does appear to fall into the “folly” category (“Patronising NCA couldn’t care less about locals”, CN July 8), since the plans do not suggest it will be comfortably functional, attractive and welcoming for either Canberra residents or visitors. 

While columnist Paul Costigan also wonders “how having the nuisance of seaplanes landing will add to active travel and make a useful link to the tram”, it is now clear that although the western end of the walkway ends abruptly at the water’s edge, it will bring wide pathing a bit closer to the NCA’s suggested landing area for its proposed lake-based, seaplane service at Museum Point. 

Should this latest lake activation idea be approved, Transport Canberra could require the NCA and the service provider to deliver a new active travel promotion and signposting program that encourages seaplane clients to walk or use an e-scooter to get to and from the new Stage 2a rail stop planned for way off in the distance, near the start of Commonwealth Ave Bridge. Or to use the every-half-hour weekday bus service that runs from the other side of the Museum to the main rail interchange in Civic. 

After all, a long hike or local bus use is expected of many locals, since these are the ways light rail is made accessible under the ACT’s “active travel” policy settings and public transport network. 

Sue Dyer, Downer 

When will wood heaters be banned?

HOW much more will it take to make this slow-learning ACT government finally apply a total ban on the use of wood-fired heaters in the ACT? 

An ACT Air Quality Report for 2020 revealed a 550 per cent increase in hazardous emissions exceeding national standards, yet demand for wood is surging after a record demand in 2020.

Putting up with emissions from bushfires is inevitable, but to deliberately

add to the emissions by allowing the use of wood fires is beyond belief.

The wood-heater replacement program initiated by the government in 2004 for the purpose of phasing out the heaters has proved useless. 

Mario Stivala, Belconnen

Hard to forgive the editor

ONE might forgive Jack Kershaw, of Kambah, for writing the same letter every week. Perhaps he’s getting old and forgetful.

One finds it harder to forgive the editor for printing it.

John Noble, Braddon

Bright songs not speaking in tongues

SCOTT Morrison does not “speak in the meaningless babble of tongues to some Pentecostal god” as Robert Macklin claimed in his “CityNews” column on July 1.

Mr Morrison has said he does not speak in tongues. I attended his church, the Horizon Church, on numerous occasions when I lived in the Sutherland Shire and found it favours bright songs of worship, not speaking in tongues. 

A journalist researches his subjects. He doesn’t just vent his fury and

print it as fact.

When he was young, my father was a reporter for “The Sydney Morning

Herald”, then half owner of the “Balmain Observer”. He ensured all

journalism was factual.

Rewa Bate, Coombs 

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Ian Meikle, editor

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One Response to Tram plans should not proceed unquestioned

Jim says: July 20, 2021 at 5:10 pm

Well at least Cardinal Pell is consistent – fulfilling one of the key objectives of the catholic church – making a $ and a dime at every opportunity! Even if his other actions may not necessarily align with the expectations of some of the faithful, that one is certainly consistent!

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