Letters to the Editor

Cycling for life

As a motorist using the road from Moonbi to Tamworth daily for work I often have the occasion to swerve onto the centre line of the highway to overtake cyclists. 

The cyclists ride well onto the left hand lane when the opportunity is there for them to be well clear of the road as the tar extends three metres to the left of the traffic lane, however, the law is to be obeyed so I carefully swerve around them. 

I find it hard to understand why on the 10th November Thursday am (6.30) a morning with fog so thick that visibility to even see the headlights of coming traffic (NIL) the cyclists were out in full force with at least 15 bikes riding abreast through Nemingha took up all of the left lane causing traffic to come to an almost standstill.

These people show no regard for their own safety and even less regard for other road users. Cyclists need to be policed and fined for obstructing the highway as I would be in a vehicle if I travelled at 20km an hour and obstructed traffic in this manner.

When conditions such as heavy fog causes low visibility it should be common sense not to ride 5 or 6 abreast and use the whole lane of the road. I pay dearly to have my vehicle registered and road worthy and pay rates to help maintain the road and feel that cyclists need to answer to the police when using dangerous practices on our roads.

B.Bollard (Moonbi)

Letter to White Street 

Dear White Street Residents

The statement; “Our street is going to change fro one of the grandest streets in Tamworth to just a normal suburban street”. This need not be the case if you and Tamworth City Council handle the situation properly.

Council has good infrastructure reasons to redevelop White Street. The residents have good reasons to want to protect what they see as an iconic road. I suggest there is a possibility of a ‘win,win’ for both parties by adopting a greater reason for the redevelopment.

White Street and most other streets and parking lots in Tamworth are urban heat islands. To put it simply; the more bitumen and concrete we have, the hotter out city will become. The more trees and vegetation we have, the cooler our city, in summer, will become.

Add global warming to the scenario and we are making the problem a whole lot worse. Global warming causes climate change and, climate change causes extreme weather events. Many politicians, especially in the developed world, wouldn’t listen to the climate scientists, and chose to put self interest and short-term gain ahead of the long-term effects of global warming by aiding and abetting coal, and coal seam gas mining. All tiers of government in Australia, including Tamworth Regional Council, put their hands out for the inducements the mining companies were willing to give in return for their support. The general public, by their sheer apathy, let this happen.

Whether we like it or not, we need to do all we can to mitigate the effects of climate change and one of the ways is to utilise the redevelopment of White Street to be a pilot project where water saving, energy saving, greening the environment and cutting carbon pollution can be highlighted.

When it rains, we need to farm the rain on our streets instead of immediately shipping it away in stormwater drains. We can do this by creating swales to slow the water and give it times to soak in. This will help replenish the water table.

Just this simple measure would mean the trees and vegetation on the footpaths will be lusher and greener; need less water. Trees and vegetation absorb carbon and produce oxygen. When a drought comes, any water or rain that does fall will be fully captured and soak in, but because the water table has been cared for, the trees especially, will be able to flourish.

This is not rocket science; it is being done in other places in Australia and overseas and is called Water Saving Urban Design. 

I have been doing a degree on Sustainable Development through Murdoch University; these and many other measures need to be put in place if we want to create a decent future for the present generation of children. The redevelopment of White Street could become a community growing experience where the people take charge. Council should not be let of the hook, and the State and Federal governments, in turn, should not be let of the hook. Right now the State government under their 2017-2022 Draft Strategic Plan for Climate Change Fund is calling for projects just like this.

Please lets us all work together, consult, come up with the very best plan ad lead by example, there is too much at stake.

Noretta Terry (Tamworth)

Education agenda

I have been attending a community course located at Gunnedah TAFE campus and as I wander the halls I am distressed at the gross under utilisation of this wonderful education facility. Computer rooms, lecture rooms, library, workshops all standing idle which will be further impacted by the announcement in the NVI that the one Trade Training Course is about to be scrapped.

At a time when industry is screaming out for qualified apprentices, the TAFE system (ie Government) is seriously letting down our young school leavers when on and off the job training should be readily available in our local community. Apprentices should not have to travel to Tamworth, Newcastle etc. for the TAFE component of their training when facilities are available locally.

With Government talk of 'outsourcing' TAFE it's high time our politicians of all persuasions showed some fortitude and put the education and training of our young people firmly back on the agenda with the restoration of local TAFEs to provide the services they were originally established for.

Tony Blake (Gunnedah)

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