Letters 25.7.15


A sell out
AS a local parent and teacher I would like to share my dismay at the proposed Fremantle College.  Essentially the Liberal government’s policy of selling the vast land holding and educational facilities at the Hamilton SHS site is a cynical money and land grab to fill treasury coffers of a highly indebted government.
Instead of selling one of our local schools, any responsible government would invest in the future of young people by upgrading and investing in current land and educational holdings. The southern corridor of Perth is due to exponentially increase in population growth in the next 20 years.
While the local secondary schools might be at a low current enrolment ebb, this is destined to rise.  Squeezing current enrolments of both schools into  South Fremantle SHS will not necessarily create the desired academic cohort and expanded ATAR subject selection.
I believe the Fremantle College concept plan is not in the best interests of students at either South Fremantle SHS or Hamilton SHS.
It is a fundamentally flawed and fiscally cynical initiative by a Liberal government that has chosen to spend billions on pet Perth and East Perth projects at the expense of the southern corridor — our community, our children and our future.
The Barnett government strategy is to sell schools, hospitals and public housing to fund its budget deficit.  I suggest the Cottesloe golf course would be a valuable land holding that is in Mr Barnett’s electorate and has far less social capital than the sale of a public school.
Joy Collins
Curedale St, Beaconsfield

Fiona’s fabulous
THERE is a lot of negative criticism about the new Fiona Stanley Hospital. We had an occasion to experience this service for ourselves last week and this has prompted me to write.
A young friend was suddenly and unexpectedly taken ill last Thursday morning, his condition described as critical. The ambulance arrived within minutes of the call and delivered him to the emergency department at Fiona Stanley where he was admitted immediately.
Fifteen doctors and medical staff worked to stabilise his condition while we were shown to a quiet comfortable room where we had access to hot drinks and toilets, medical staff regularly coming by to keep us informed.
He was moved to intensive care a little later in the day where he was kept under strict observation and constantly checked by doctors. Worried family and friends had a comfortable waiting room with toilets, showers and even beds available.
A member of staff made herself available if we needed advice and offered counselling services. A social worker provided information about financial support available.
Five days later, our young man is recovering and it is thanks to an army of dedicated and caring medical staff, facilities that are excellent and a hospital service where patients and their family’s needs are the absolute priority.
Kristi McNulty
Oakover St, East Fremantle

Please explain
I HAVE just read the Herald article concerning the Melville council’s use of ratepayer funds to pay a private investigator to look into matters concerning Councillors Barton, Taylor and Pazolli.
I am appalled that people in positions of power within the council are pursuing councillors who have the audacity to do their jobs in representing their constituents. This smacks of schoolyard bullying of the worst kind and should not be tolerated by any fair-minded ratepayer.
The CEO should be made to give a full explanation to council on his reasons for using a private investigator against these three councillors, whether he has used private investigators to investigate any other councillors and what consultation he had with the mayor about these matters. As a ratepayer, I demand a full explanation.
Robert Philp
Bristol Ave, Bicton

Let kids be kids
I AM a mother with two small children who visits the daycare centre in the “Beacy Bronx” several times a week. Sometimes walking through the “big bad Bronx” with the pram or driving.
Those “terrible kids” are great to have a laugh with — chase my dog and throw sticks for him and then stop and say g’day at the deli when I see them.
This morning, a young boy was kicking the footy around in the sunshine. On at least one occasion, as a sleep-deprived new mother, I left my mobile phone and wallet on the front seat of car with window down and keys in the ignition while I took my children into daycare.
The “terrible kids” were playing not far away in the street and my valuables were all still there on my return 20 minutes later.
Is there a property developer fanning the flames of the “terrible situation”  — someone stands to make a pretty nice profit if the area is redeveloped.
If you look closely, it’s one of the few last parcels of land to redeveloped close to Fremantle. As for the woman tormented by the kids (Herald, July 11, 2015) — she sounds like a miserable person whingeing about children, who are only reacting in the normal way, by tormenting her in return.
Think of Scout and Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird: was Scout a bad child or just a normal child tormenting an older neighbour? Alternatively, is she hoping a developer will come in by continually complaining to the media, Freo council and government departments?
Sure, the kids are being brats — but it’s much worse because they are of a low-socio economic circumstances. If these kids had parents with a fancy SUV and a parent who threatened to sue anytime someone complained it would be a different story.
Of course they need some discipline and parents to take more care, however I can think of plenty of wealthy kids who are in dire need of some discipline too!
How dare these people enjoy living in such a nice area when there could be expensive housing in this lovely parkside spot!
Dare I be so cheeky as to perhaps mention to the Herald that perhaps some diligent grassroots journalism may get to the bottom of this, unless this last bastion of journalism has succumbed to the same developer-backed greed as The West?
Danielle Jackman
Simper Cres,
White Gum Valley
The Ed says: Pretty sure the people we’ve spoken to who’ve complained about crime and torment have been local residents and most, if not all, public housing tenants themselves. Don’t think we’ve had any developers sniffing around to privatise the place, and we’d report it if we heard there was.

Heart warmer
A HEART-WARMING thanks to individuals and the many groups (too many to name) who came out in the rain to support the Hamilton Hill Noisy Parade and Information Session.
It was awesome to see people unite in a common cause, make some noise, and to feel the community spirit! The events achieved the aim of raising awareness to the consequences of extending the Roe Highway through our community.
Hamilton Hill was built on heritage and generations of families who are passionate about their community and this turn-out proved this.
Once again, thank you everyone for making this day a success and we encourage you to continue to support the various campaigns to stop Roe 8 and any further extensions. The Roe 8 will destroy our natural environment, divide our community, restrict access to schools and shops.  There are smarter alternatives proposed.
Maureen Fisher-Sim
Arthur Rd, Hamilton Hill

Friendly Freo
A WEEK ago, I received a hip replacement at Fremantle Hospital, where I experienced excellent care.
The staff from the surgeon down to the cleaners were friendly and efficient, my short stay was a breeze.Thank you all and sundry!
What concerns me is the fact that governments, state and federal, are sucking money out of the health budget and I fear my local hospital will be severely compromised. Already the nursing outpatient service is about to be discontinued, emergency department. gone, what next? My fellow residents, please do anything possible to retain our hospital and its services.
John Showell
North Fremantle

I WOULD like to convey my disgust at the half-page ad you allowed to be published for Projectx on page 25 of the July 18 edition of the Herald.
I have no objection with the program being advertised but find the wording uncouth and vulgar in the extreme when distributed in a newspaper.
John Carter
Terrene Lane, O’Connor
The Ed says: Thanks, John. Anticipating community angst about the explicit nature of the ad we did publish a warning on the front page. We weighed up the costs of upsetting some readers against public health benefits and decided the latter to be more pressing than the former.

I HAVE been a North Lake resident for 24 years. During this time I’ve watched new suburbs happily being developed around existing Leach Highway.
Now you claim that for the sake of all those residents, trucks have to be re-routed smack through the middle of incredibly precious wetlands and in the middle of other residential areas to conveniently shift the problem from your own residents.
It is a breathtakingly selfish, shortsighted approach. Selfish because you are imposing exactly the problem you are already having on the next door communities and happily accepting the destruction of rare natural environment.
Shortsighted because the tragedy of this “solution” is that the six-lane Leach Highway is never going to turn into a quiet suburban street and any temporary slowing of the traffic is going to be just that — temporary.
I urge you all to look at the bigger picture beyond the boundaries of your own council. I have photos of various wild flowers including at least five different varieties of orchids growing in the banksia forest along Hope Road, the same forest that is earmarked for destruction.
At an enormous cost, a highway is to be constructed to create a circle around Leach Highway in order to bypass affluent suburbs that have grown there over the years. The arrogance of this approach takes my breath away.
There are other solutions, they have been developed and researched by many thoughtful scientists and activists. Solutions that may provide good outcomes for all and preserve the natural treasures for the next generations.
I am asking all of you to listen with open mind and heart.
Barbara Kuhlmann
North Lake

A disgrace
REGARDING East Fremantle town council rates increasing by 7 per cent (Herald, July 18, 2015) I suggest the state government and Mr Barnett close the place down as the place is a disgrace.
If it was not for ignorant people who voted YES to amalgamate at the recent ballot it would have been goodnight East Fremantle as the 50 per cent of votes that triggered the referendum’s validity would not have been reached.
Maybe it’s time for Mr Barnett to consider amending the WA local governmemt act to suit the year 2015 and beyond. Have council staff taken a pay cut or are the fat cats looking after themselves instead of the community?
What has been the increase to council staff and also councillors over the past 12 months and what will be their increases this year? I, together with my group, will continue to push for a forced amalgamation of this miniature, unprofessional council which is a joke.
M Wilkes
Canning Hwy,
East Fremantle
The Ed says: We’ve heard from the council that while still well above neighbouring councils, its budget adopted on Tuesday kept the rates to 6.25 per cent.

Time for hugs
I THINK the Herald and Fremantle council’s media officers really need to do some sort of mediation, seriously. Perhaps a weekend retreat. Or you could just go out and get drunk together.
Fremantle’s meant to be a chilled place but you both need to relax a bit and get over whatever your problem is. This city is bigger than both your egos.
Heath Benjamin Adams

Unanswered questions
I ATTENDED the meeting outside in the square regarding the freight to rail last night and had a few unanswered questions.
The public has a right to know just how much the present state government is in debt. We know the cost of the Roe Highway extension is $1.6 billion. We don’t know the cost of breaking a contract if the federal government pulls out.
We don’t know what sort of clauses are being drawn up that protect the public from that situation. We don’t know the cost of doubling the Stirling highway bridge or widening High Street or a tunnel connecting Stock Rd to the port.
We do know about pollution and noise and destruction. We don’t know the cost of a new harbour further south with road and rail connection related to any of the previously mentioned costs.
We don’t know the costs of improved transportation from the east and north. There appears to have been no planning or research. We need to have knowledge in order to come up with really good alternatives.
Most cities in the world are working hard to relieve their cities of traffic, noise and pollution. We need a plan for the future not this haphazard way of road building. It is proven not to work and takes forever. Look at Perth airport. What a mess and where is that train to Perth?
Scott Ludlam is going to start a fight for this as withholding information is illegal. I hope we can all support him as it will cost money.
Elizabeth Wilkes
Burridge Way, Hamilton Hill

Rottnest is not a cash cow
WHILE I welcome the Rottnest Island Authority’s claim that preserving Rottnest’s natural and heritage environment remains integral to its vision (Herald letters, July 4, 2015), I am concerned this is not supported by its management plan for the island.
The RIA’s own research shows WA boaties do not want the additional developments associated with a new marina in Thomson Bay that are proposed in the management plan such as a three-storey building at the marina entrance and accommodation units.
Further, the RIA’s data reveals that while 44 per cent of boaties are strongly in favour of a marina and another 23 per cent are slightly or moderately supportive, most holders of mooring licences would not give up their mooring if they got a pen in the new marina.
Of current registered users of Rottnest’s boat services, only 23 per cent would definitely or very likely rent a pen in a new marina. And among boat-owners who don’t currently visit Rottnest, the main reason cited was lack of interest rather than a need for more boating facilities.
Rather than clearly support the need for a new marina, these figures raise questions as to how construction of a marina would increase visitor numbers to the island or provide an economic benefit to it.
The fact those most interested in renting a pen in the new marina cite their annual income as $180,000-$260,000, or $260,000-plus also raises questions about who a marina would stand to benefit.
The RIA says any proposed marina development will be “contingent on considerable private investment”. It seems the government’s view is that Rottnest should pay for itself. Do we expect the same of comparable A-class reserves with exceptional tourism and recreational values, such as King’s Park?
Perhaps we should consider that our precious, natural spaces “pay for themselves” by means other than helping the government balance its books, such as the way they improve Western Australians’ lives, through providing educational, social and health benefits.
Such an approach should be applied to other cherished natural spaces under threat including, to name but a few, Point Peron in Rockingham threatened by canal development, Beeliar wetlands threatened by Roe 8 and South-West forests being gutted by anachronistic native timber logging.
Lynn MacLaren MLC
Greens Member for South Metropolitan

Stop the waste
THE design of the proposed footbridge across the river to Burswood stadium, it appears to me, is going to cost a lot of money. A more simple design would do the same job and cost a lot less, to build and maintain.
Please, no more cost over-runs at the expense of other amenities.
I have not seen any plans for jetties to land ferry passengers, nor landing places for private boat passengers at Burswood. What landing jetties are proposed? The river could play a huge part in transporting footy patrons up and down the river.
Frank Granger
Melville Bch Rd, Applecross

16. TOEF 15x3

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