THE decision to close the award-winning Beresfield printing press is a sad one; however my memories of it will always be of excitement and pride.
I remember the very first time I visited - watching as the completed pages from the Newcastle Herald office turned into words and pictures on plates, seeing those giant Uniset presses roar into action, smelling the ink as it rolled onto the paper and being mesmerised by the rollercoaster of trimmed newspapers heading towards their readers. The biggest privilege was to share this with the thousands of Hunter students who also visited this integral part of history.
While 600 years may have passed since Gutenberg made his press and changed history forever, the team at Beresfield press has been part of the tradition to keep information accessible to all. My thoughts are with Michael, Mark and the whole team in the days ahead. Thank you for keeping the presses running under your watch.
Judith Whitfield, Newcastle
IT’S JUST UNSATISFACTORY
THE redress scheme being offered to survivors of sexual abuse is an addendum to the callous, cruel treatment by the Australian government to our First Peoples, refugees, homeless, disabled and less fortunate others. Few people have found the outcome of the Royal Commission satisfying because most of the institutions are continuing business as usual.
There will never be satisfaction while this culture remains. I can't imagine change occurring in the near future. The Catholic Church has tried to organise a couple of get-togethers with survivors, but it seems they are ignorant of the fact that the community have had enough of the church leaders’ attempts. I have seen documentation from others saying "they still don't get it".
Pat Garnet, Wickham
IT’S SHORE WORTH SAVING
IF the residents of Toronto really want to know what Lake Macquarie City Council thinks of their rights to enjoyment of public foreshore space they should drive from Speers Point through Warners Bay to Eleebana and marvel at the vast amount of beautiful, attractively curated, public foreshore space those suburbs enjoy.
These suburbs have facilities such as walking and cycling trails, barbecues, picnic settings, playgrounds, native plantings and plenty of parking for locals and visitors. The boardwalk between Warners Bay and Eleebana is a particular highlight.
Now return to the poor cousin township of Toronto: What does our council have planned for us? Well folks, they are going to take a big chunk of your foreshore land and spend up to a million dollars of your rates to authorise a development application to build a six storey block of units (“Complex for foreshore”, Herald 24/4).
Responses to my letters to the mayor and councillors were weasel-worded, shape-shifting missives banging on about “progress, community consultation and jobs”. If Lake Macquarie City Council thinks it can treat Toronto differently to other suburbs in its care, it had better think again. The natives are restless and the revolt is planned.
Kate Elderton, Toronto
A FREE PIECE OF ADVICE
IT’S a total concern that our farmers are in trouble. The drought has been going for years and they need help. As said, we can buy Australian meat. That will help support the situation. The government should put a free ad on TV and the papers. That's the way to get the message across.
Government, could you do some good for your country, is that a possible thing to do instead of wasting taxpayers’ money?
Alan Ackroyd, Hamilton
ROCK AND A HARD SPACE
IT IS with both sadness and annoyance that I read of the launch of the musical We Will Rock You (“We Will Rock You ready to bring Queen’s hits back to the future”, Herald 19/7). I along many others with mobility problems won't be able to go as there is no disabled access. There is no drop off or pick up zone within the Civic precinct, the nearest being Burwood Street, and by Newcastle City Council's own admission it is too far to walk. What is particularly galling is that the council know of the problem but have not offered any solutions, and the issue will not change when the light rail is completed.
The revitalisation of Newcastle as a liveable city excludes people with a disability. One would think the collective brains of the highly paid bureaucrats at NCC could come up with a solution. I'll therefore proffer two easily achieved solutions. 1. recessing the footpath outside the theatre to allow for two car spaces for drop off/pick up zone or 2. access via Christie Place to a zone on the southern side of the theatre, the latter would only require a marked circle and signage.
For the benefit of the able, Metropolitan Players have negotiated night time parking at a reasonable fee at the parking station near Union Street, and that's a good thing. Unfortunately for the disabled, a drop off/pick up zone close to the theatre is squarely in Newcastle City Council's court.
I will declare a vested interest, my daughter has a lead role in the production and I will be very sad to miss the production.
Susan Simmonds, Aberdare
WE’RE COUGHING UP FOR COAL
CARL Stevenson (“Tree change for coal”, Herald 16/7) suggests that coal should be exempt from GST to 'give the coal industry a level playing field'. In reality, the playing field is far from level.
If coal paid its way, we would experience a much faster transition to renewable energy. That transition is already gaining pace, as renewable energy is cheaper to generate than coal not only here in Australia but also around the world.
Then there are the externalities that the coal industry does not need to pay. Coal-fired power stations and coal mines are massive sources of air pollution. They are our single greatest source of deadly fine particle pollution that is inhaled deeply, contributing to the premature deaths of more than 3000 Australians each year, and sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. Power stations alone cause health impacts that have been estimated to cost us $2.6 billion per annum. The answer is not, as Mr Stevenson suggests, to rescue our declining coal industry. Instead, we should be installing readily available equipment that can reduce toxic air pollution by 90% or more. None of the five power stations in NSW have this equipment, and we should be embracing the transition to renewable energy.