LETTERS 12.8.17

Waste of a vote
YOUR recent front-page article reported a mayoral candidate supporting Waste to Energy and mentioned eight councils who had signed up for WTE (‘Tafe fight “too late”’, Herald, August 5, 2017).
Those councils, who are part of the Rivers Regional Council, tendered in 2013 and contracted in 2015 for disposal to a plant that has not yet been built.
As far as I am aware, it is unlikely to be built for at least four years, perhaps longer.
Those councils will continue to send their waste to landfill until at least 2021 unless they break those contracts.
In contrast, Fremantle for the last 15 years has recovered, on average, 60 per cent of our waste.
After all efforts have been made to recover, recycle and compost, WTE is better than landfill for residual waste.
Subject to costs, environmental performance and contract conditions, WTE is a useful last option.
It can be considered when there is greater certainty about a WTE technology plant actually being funded and built.
Douglas Thompson
Thompson Road, North Fremantle

Ra’s right on Australia Day
I REFER to the front page of your last edition (‘Tafe fight “too late”’, Herald, August 5, 2017) and the article regarding Ra Stewart and her opinion on an ‘Australia Day Comeback’.
With regard to this article I’m in 100 per cent agreement with Ra on this topic.
I especially agree with her opinion that a ‘very limited and biased consultation’ was conducted and certainly did divide the community.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but at times I feel like that it is almost a crime to be a white Australian these days.
Personally, I didn’t know Captain Cook and as far as I know, none of my past relations abused or discriminated against any of our indigenous people.
From what I can gather, they came out to Australia, worked very hard and made better lives for themselves.
They also paid their taxes and contributed to the community, therefore, I believe that us white folk have rights as well.
Finally, why don’t we just all take a step back, forget about the past and all enjoy being proud Australians.
That way, we could all come together on ‘Australia Day’ and celebrate as one.’
Steve Grady
Murray Road, Palmyra

Plastic candidate
WHATEVER qualities Ra Stewart may bring to the City of Fremantle should she be elected, clearly, environmental sustainability is not among them.
She chooses to bag the council’s proposed plastic bag ban when just a short walk alongside the Swan River would reveal many plastic bags do find their way into our waterways and then into the stomachs of wildlife.
Her love of waste to energy is hard to fathom.
A simple search of the waste authority guidelines would clearly show that waste to energy is the least preferred option for dealing with waste other than disposal. The waste hierarchy information has been around for a while with avoidance at the top of the list followed by recovery, reuse, reprocessing and recycling.
Only after these options are utilised is there a place for waste to energy.
Cliff Collinson, King Street
East Fremantle

Bowdlerised history
WHILE I am always pleased to receive advice from North America, Mr Cunningham’s Thinking Allowed (‘Come join the maple leaf march’, Herald, August 5, 2017), might have benefitted from a broader look his shining examples (notably France).
Since the Revolution of 1789, France has had two monarchies, two empires and five republics.
While this may indicate political energy, it does not encourage anyone who values political stability.
Additionally, neither Canadians nor Australians swear allegiance to ‘the English queen’ (who is in fact the Queen of the United Kingdom).
We swear allegiance to the Queen of Canada and the Queen of Australia respectively.
While Mr Cunningham might dismiss this as a trivial legal nicety, the allegiance is in effect to those two countries.
A republic, which may well have a number of merits, would not change that.
As to the republics leading us all out of our ‘long groping in the dark, tribulations and sacrifices”, the most stable states in Europe are in fact monarchies.
These states have been able to develop strong democracies while retaining the stability of monarchy.
While I could not comment on the suggestion that Canada’s Quebecois separatism would be dealt a death blow by a republic, I would suggest that the cause of Australia republicanism is ill served by bowdlerised history.
There is a great deal more to recommend a republic to your readers than that.
Peter Harmsworth
Raine Terrace, Winthrop

Detention for Ra
I TAKE issue with Ra’s confident plans that she can single handedly change Fremantle into a ‘knowledge hub’ of academic excellence in architecture, communications, biotechnology and software design.
She cites three academic institutions in Fremantle as the basis of this proposed ‘hub’, and whilst all three are exemplary academic institutions with specialist courses, all also lack much of the stated interest or skills in the areas Ra requires of them (according to their websites).
Lance Holt is a small independent primary school, John Curtin is a college whose focus is on gifted and talented programs in the arts and Notre Dame, a Catholic University, primarily offers research and training in health, education, business and law.
Moreover, the cost and time and effort required to attract the infrastructure and culture to set up this brilliant plan, especially when other academic institutions in WA already do it so well, seems to me a complete waste of resources that could be better put into more collaborative and well thought out opportunities.
One wonders whether Ra bothered to talk to anyone at these institutions about their interest in deviating so completely from their existing programs?
I doubt it.
Paul Tod
Healy Road, Hamilton Hill

Rates rammy 
THERE’S been a lot of positive talk in the media that the city of Fremantle rates have increased by only 1.9 per cent on average.
Here at 110 Solomon Street, we beg to differ.
Our rates last year were $1,649.58.
This year our rates bill is $2208.02.
The difference between our two notices is $558.44.
A difference of that amount represents an approximate 33 per cent increase. Were the statement regarding 1.9 per cent applied to our property, our rates should have increased to $1680.92.
A gentle rise in rates we can accept, however a 33 per cent hike beggars belief. Strangely enough, most surrounding properties remained at around $1650, properties of comparable accommodation, condition and on land parcels 180sqm bigger than ours.
Overnight, our GRV, as determined by Landgate, rose from $21,060 to $26,520, an increase inconsistent with most of our neighbours.
The city have personally advised us “that the 1.9 per cent rate stated in the mayor’s and other city information is in reference to the council adopted increase in overall rating income and not specifically to any percentage rate increase on individual property rate assessments”.
This seems very difficult to reconcile.
K King & J Maish
Solomon Street, Fremantle

Crossing the Rubicon
THERE is a simple and friendlier alternative to those bone-breaking humps: the good old pedestrian crossing, or as our African friends call it, the Zebra crossing (‘Tony gets the hump’, Herald letters, August 5, 2017).
I am always awed by the absence of those except in the town centre, with the last one at Alma street.
Replace all those bumps by zebra crossings everywhere.
There is a split island in the middle of the road, actually made so that pedestrian can cross, by giving way to vehicles.
The council can install the appropriate signage, reminding the drivers of the priority to be given to those crossing.
One can always add a camera or two here and there, for the financial benefit of the town of Fremantle, not that other mob.
In doing so, the council shows consideration for the people and eventually the machines.
I certainly would love to see more of those zebras crossing!
Jean-Marie de Dianous
Wood Street, White Gum Valley,

Shock wave
AS local government minister, David Templeman is right to make the Melville city council a first ‘port of call’ pursuant to his ministerial responsibilities.
The Melville city council did not cover itself in glory during the Roe 8 fracas and many residents are feeling less than confident that transparent and due process has been observed regarding the recent Wave Park proposal.
It is unfortunate if the machinations of this council blinds-side residents to what should be obvious, and that is that this is a manifestly stupid proposal.
Its proponents have not presented and adequate business case and residents may be wondering if they will be left with a costly ‘white elephant’.
While there may be instances both in Australia and over seas where ‘wave parks’ (call them what you may) have proven beneficial to both operators and the general public the one currently under consideration lacks access, proximity and continuity with its surroundings.
We should be very wary when developers want to encroach upon our ever diminishing foreshore. Best to leave this habitat to the many migratory and wading birds and people who wish to enjoy the amenity as it currently is—for free.
Mark Smith
South Street, Hilton

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