The Northern Star - - NEWS -

Heart­less coun­cil

HERE we are over five months on from the dev­as­tat­ing Lis­more flood and the 'heart' is still bleed­ing from the lack of vis­i­tors, cus­tomers and clients mainly due to the coun­cils to­tal ne­glect of the CBD since the orig­i­nal cleanup, with roads, foot­paths, car parks and even pedes­trian cross­ings still in need of re­pair and clean­ing, let alone any new im­prove­ments to en­tice peo­ple back into town.

Ratepay­ing busi­nesses and land­lords must be very dis­ap­pointed with the coun­cil's lack of sup­port and in­put into the full re­cov­ery of this iconic North­ern Rivers City apart from the in­tro­duc­tion of a num­ber of dis­con­nected cy­cle paths which are a hin­drance to traf­fic and too dan­ger­ous for bike rid­ers to use pre­fer­ring foot­paths or roads in­stead, with not a cy­clist to be seen on them since their in­cep­tion.

Coun­cil­lors seem to be more con­cerned about their in­di­vid­ual po­lit­i­cal agen­das than at­tend­ing to core lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and per­haps it is time for the State Gov­ern­ment to con­sider ap­point­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tor if this or­gan­i­sa­tion can't get its pri­or­i­ties right and re­ally give some love back to the 'heart' of Lis­more. — P Rus­sell, Bal­lina.

Rail over trail

WITH all this talk about bike paths in­stead of rail in the North­ern Rivers, it seems to be for­got­ten that cli­mate change is hap­pen­ing right now and ur­gent ac­tion is needed. Rein­tro­duc­ing rail in this coun­try is es­sen­tial to re­duc­ing emis­sions. Rail has been ne­glected for 40 years es­pe­cially in NSW be­cause of road lob­by­ists.

An in­ter­view on ABC Ra­dio Na­tional with en­gi­neer Frank Sz­abo called, ‘Re­duc­ing Trans­port Emis­sions’ states: “In 2015, the trans­port sec­tor over­took elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion as the big­gest en­ergy user in Aus­tralia. By far the big­gest slice of th­ese emis­sions is from road trans­port at 87%. Cars alone ac­count for 49%. Rail is a highly ef­fi­cient, low-fric­tion mode of trans­port. In many cases, by us­ing less en­ergy, rail can give sig­nif­i­cant emis­sion re­duc­tions com­pared to road trans­port.”

With two mil­lion tourists to By­ron Bay ev­ery year, an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion and a huge num­ber of trucks on the highway we should im­me­di­ately re­pair the Casino to Mur­willum­bah rail­way line for pas­sen­ger and freight use. With a sur­plus of over $4 bil­lion the NSW Gov­ern­ment could easily do this but are still cap­tive to the road in­dus­try. — Beth Shel­ley, Boo­erie Creek.

On track

I RE­FER to the let­ter "off track" by Abu­raya Phim, and her sug­ges­tion de­vel­op­ers have con­trib­uted to the rail trail cam­paign. Why would they?

The Ex­plana­tory Mem­o­ran­dum to the model leg­isla­tive amend­ment to en­able rail trails in NSW spec­i­fies that it is for a cy­cling and walk­ing trail. Any other use would re­quire a fur­ther amend­ment but would be op­posed by rail buffs, cy­clists and the busi­ness and em­ploy­ees who ben­e­fit from the es­ti­mated $200 a day they will spend.

And I do not know how she imag­ines the train will take our kids to school – most do not live along the line and they have a free bus ser­vice to do just that. In the 60s the train used to take us from By­ron Bay and Ban­ga­low to Mul­lum High but par­ents lob­bied to re­place it with buses, be­cause of the poor tim­ing, al­ways an is­sue with in­flex­i­ble rail ser­vices.

The Sus­tain North­ern Rivers Trans­port Sur­vey 2013 which found the main bar­rier to pub­lic trans­port use was timetabling con­straints (30%) – only 9% thought not hav­ing a train would help in­crease pub­lic trans­port use. Th­ese re­straints are eas­ier to ad­dress across our re­gion with reg­u­lar bus ser­vices than with a far more ex­pen­sive train that serves just one route (and does not go near any of our cam­puses). I would also com­mend read­ers to the North­ern Rivers So­cial De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil (NRSDC) sub­mis­sion to the in­quiry last year into ac­cess to trans­port for se­niors and dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple in re­gional NSW, which did not once men­tion the train or the rail, but which of­fered prac­ti­cal and af­ford­able sug­ges­tions on how to im­prove and make more ac­ces­si­ble the buses. — Peter Hat­field, Cum­balum.

Bal­ance views

I RE­CEIVED an email from the Mem­ber for Bal­lina and would like to see what other views might be out there see­ing Aus­tralians are be­ing asked to make a de­ci­sion and pay­ing a lot of money to do so.

Mar­riage is a CHRIS­TIAN in­sti­tu­tion that was in­sti­gated by a Holy God be­tween a male and a fe­male who were cre­ated in HIS im­age. God’s im­age is there­fore not up­held in ‘same sex’ mar­riages – this makes a mock­ery of the Chris­tian faith, which hap­pens to be very in­sult­ing to me per­son­ally and to world­wide Chris­tians as a whole. If peo­ple of the same gen­der want to live to­gether within a bind­ing agree­ment, that is their de­ci­sion and Chris­tian faith is not try­ing to stop this; ev­ery per­son has and makes their own choice/s in life and even God him­self al­lows this. Aus­tralian law could be changed so peo­ple can take ad­van­tage of the le­gal ben­e­fits and pro­tec­tions, with­out giv­ing it the Chris­tian la­bel of mar­riage!

The bi­ble is very clear that mar­riage is a di­vinely es­tab­lished covenant be­tween a man and a women – full stop!

You look like an in­tel­li­gent women Ta­mara; you seem to be in­ter­ested in your con­stituents views, so please don’t be ig­no­rant by tak­ing one side. — Diane Kirch, Bal­lina.

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