Quite happy un­til this grenade

Mercury (Hobart) - - LETTERS -

I HAVE al­ways voted Lib­eral as the phi­los­o­phy and vi­sion of Men­zies fits well with me. The free­dom of the in­di­vid­ual at the cen­tre of eco­nomic and so­cial life. That change not be forced on the peo­ple by the gov­ern­ment. Wow, the Tas­ma­nian Lib­er­als have pooped all over poor Men­zies in the way they have gone about West­bury prison. In nearly ev­ery re­spect the site is un­suit­able. It is in full view of tourists trav­el­ling into Tas­ma­nia from the North with the main road over­look­ing the prison for a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres. It is close to town, nearly as big as West­bury and vis­i­ble from much of the town. West­bury has sig­nif­i­cant Tas­ma­nian and Aus­tralian his­tory. It has coun­try peo­ple, fam­i­lies, horse lovers, farm­ers, hobby farm­ers and main­lan­ders.

What we have in com­mon is that we were quite happy be­fore the prison hand grenade was thrown our way. A few days be­fore, some­thing ex­cit­ing hap­pened, the IGA opened and every­one was chat­ting about it as a great pos­i­tive. Al­most be­fore the paint was dry, a bunch of bu­reau­crats and politi­cians sneaked into town and an­nounced a prison. In one fell swoop, forc­ing nor­mal pri­vate peo­ple into a fight they never sought, fam­i­lies into tak­ing sides, older res­i­dents los­ing sleep, par­ents con­cerned about chil­dren, all of us into the un­known. The party I have al­ways re­spected for in­tegrity has shown me a side Men­zies would not for a minute con­done. Si­mon Manche West­bury

Chalk and cheese

TO Mark Pearce (Let­ters, Novem­ber 5), I spent much of my for­ma­tive years in the South and was a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Geil­ston Bay. Geil­ston Bay, while beau­ti­ful, is not a tourism des­ti­na­tion. It is a mere 8km from the cap­i­tal, so des­tined to ex­pand, no mat­ter what was in the next sub­urb. West­bury is a tourism town and 36km from Launce­s­ton, too far to be ab­sorbed into the ur­ban sprawl. Your near­est Wool­worths is in Lind­is­farne, less than 2km away. Ours is in Delo­raine, 19km away.

Geil­ston Bay has high schools (Rose Bay 4.1km, Clarence 7km, New Town, Ogilvie, Cosgrove), col­leges (Rosny 5km, EC 8km), banks, reg­u­lar buses, hos­pi­tals and shop­ping cen­tres. We do not have these things and be­cause of dis­tance will likely never have them. Our vil­lage is too small to ab­sorb the sheer vol­ume of peo­ple a 270-bed prison would bring. Martin Hamil­ton West­bury

What about lock­downs?

EV­ERY Tas­ma­nian should visit the pre­ferred prison site on Bir­ralee Rd, West­bury, 2km from our vil­lage busi­ness cen­tre and less than 400m from where peo­ple live. The Gov­ern­ment forked out $250,000 of your money for the de­ci­sion to put a prison here. It is near the in­dus­trial site of a farm ma­chine man­u­fac­turer, home builder, fish food plant, bulk fuel out­lets, bulk gas plant, en­gi­neer­ing firm and one of the world’s largest drug pro­duc­ers. Most have pub­lic ac­cess park­ing for their em­ploy­ees, about 200 ve­hi­cles a day. The av­er­age per­son could pre­dict the po­ten­tial haz­ards in plac­ing a max­i­mum­se­cu­rity prison in this area.

Should the prison go into lock­down, will those busi­nesses be forced to stop pro­duc­tion? Will gov­ern­ment com­pen­sate for this loss? Will this force some busi­nesses to move caus­ing the loss of jobs and mil­lions of dol­lars to our lo­cal econ­omy? Too many ques­tions, too many risks. David Gib­son West­bury

Plea­sure to stop by

STICK to your guns, res­i­dents. We thought it was go­ing to be a disas­ter when the main road by­passed West­bury but it turned out to be a pleas­ant vil­lage that is al­ways a plea­sure to stop off at on jour­neys to the North-West. This Gov­ern­ment says the peo­ple are Nim­bies. Why don’t they build a jail at Mt St Can­ice in Sandy Bay. The in­fra­struc­ture is there. Quite a few read­ers think West­bury is the best place for a jail. They don’t live there. Ray Wake­field Clare­mont

Step­ping stone

ASH­LEY De­ten­tion Cen­tre is a step­ping stone to Ris­don. The Hayes min­i­mum se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity was sold in 2012 be­cause the then La­bor gov­ern­ment needed funds as a con­se­quence of eco­nomic in­ep­ti­tude. Kids need di­rec­tion away from that they have fallen prey to. Ed­u­ca­tion, ex­er­cise, men­tor­ing, no mo­biles, no ac­cess to drugs and above all fo­cused care. Hayes Prison Farm was a step­ping stone to nor­mal life, Ash­ley to more crime and longer in­car­cer­a­tion. I’m not highly ed­u­cated, how­ever, the fix is as clear as the nose on your face. In­ter­act, ed­u­cate and pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment that di­verts kids to an­other di­rec­tion. Ste­wart Ed­wards Mt Stu­art

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