Can I, through your paper, convey our thanks to the Rural Fire Services throughout this country and the remarkable men and women who give of their time and effort to protect the communities all year – and particularly during the catastrophic times we have been experiencing lately.
While some of us are physically unable to help fight the fires and can only watch and listen helplessly to the reports on TV and radio, we can all support them in a practical way by giving direct donations or assisting in their fundraising efforts.
Contact your local RFS and ask what you can do to help.
There are always costs involved – not the least of which is the constant need to upgrade equipment.
And we can pray.
Pray for their welfare, for rain, for relief from the shocking weather conditions they endure while fighting to save other’s property.
They are all heroes and all deserve medals and our undying gratitude for their selfless service
In the midst of a “mild” (non-el nino) summer we're hit with one of the hottest days on record and bushfires rage all around our lush green valley (if you think it's dry here, drive a hundred kilometres south, or west).
We may become increasingly blase about climate change and the devastating effect it will have on this fragile continent.
We may give “balance” by considering the views of a few folks who promulgate non peer-reviewed scientific explanations.
We may find relief in a cool change.
But the message is clear - this next week is going to see us playing for ashes that no-one wants to win and nature always bats last.
On Wednesday, the future shape of Bermagui will be decided when the council considers the construction of a Woolworths in Montague St.
We feel that such a development is completely inappropriate on aesthetic, environmental and economic grounds.
Not only will the development undermine small businesses in the area as it did at Tura Beach, but it will transform Bermagui from a small, seaside village that attracts thousands of visitors each year into another congested and bland suburban “no place”.
The increased traffic flow and the inevitable pollutants will undermine the unique and pristine beauty of this very special place.
The council and state often celebrate the unique qualities of the Wilderness Coast.
Why would they violate the integrity of its gateway with a development that undermines those qualities?
Drs Edward and Nadine Hills
We would like to be treated with respect and consideration as elderly residents of this community who chose a quiet location in a low-density residential zone of the town to retire to over a decade ago.
One of the attractions of coming to Bega was to provide the support of grandparents to our granddaughter, who is now doing well in her studies at the University of Wollongong.
In our former lives we provided professional help for communities in Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney before coming to Bega in 1998.
In addition to my professional work of helping distressed and unhappy people recover their mental health I must mention I was in the RAAF during WW2.
During training for aircrew at Ballarat I contracted measles, a mastoid in my left ear and septicaemia.
I needed blood transfusions to regain my health and remained in Heidelberg Military Hospital for months.
I now have two serious illnesses.
Recently I spent some time in Bega Hospital recovering from a heart attack.
We did due diligence on 11 Swan St before committing ourselves to buying it.
There was at that time no mention of the possibility of a large-scale, eternally busy, fast food outlet being erected next door.
There was some mention of the possibility of a bypass at some time in the future that would divert heavy traffic from Carp St.
As is known to many people in the town, the planning staff at Bega Valley Shire Council steadfastly advised the proposed 24/7 fast food enterprise that was the subject of the McDonald’s DA was incompatible with provisions of the low-density residential zone in which our home is situated.
We would appreciate active support from members of the community for our opposition to the proposed development going ahead in Swan St and instead ask them to encourage McDonald’s to consider a site in North Bega where the business could access through traffic using the new bypass.
Please let the recently elected members of the BVSC know what you think.
We remember that most of them expressed their opposition to the DA in no uncertain terms before the election.
Also, encourage McDonald’s to rethink its position.
Perhaps the CEO could be encouraged to visit Bega and examine the site in person.
As the former mayor said in one of the relevant council meetings, “it is a bad site” quite apart from the zoning issue – flooding, traffic, difficult access for large vehicles and so on.
Survey a nonsense
So, according to the results of the just completed triennial community satisfaction survey, some 51.4 per cent of residents support the special rate increases being touted by the Bega Valley Shire Council.
The survey findings on the rates question are arguably a nonsense of course, and should the council attempt to rely on the results, many may see it as a cynical attempt to manipulate the feedback process mandated by IPART as a prerequisite to determining the outcome of such applications.
To start with, the survey was allegedly conducted with 407 “residents”, some, most, or all of whom might not necessarily be ratepayers.
Even if all those people surveyed were ratepayers, the responses would still only represent around 2.1 per cent of ratepayers in the shire.
Not only has the council not provided the above data, it has not detailed the demographics of any ratepayers who might have been included in the survey - ie how many of the respondents were farmers or business proprietors, versus residential ratepayers?
Such data is surely vital to any real statistical understanding of what the survey is saying, as well as to establishing how much real weight can be attached to its findings?
For example, if the bulk of people surveyed were not ratepayers, then their views on the desirability of further rate increases could arguably be suspect.
While the council maintains its consultation process, including its much vaunted IRIS survey, is in keeping with the processes required by IPART, there are many who might question not only the basis of that contention, given the above, but also the efficacy of the alleged IPART process itself, given that organisation's altogether dubious predisposition to “wave through” applications for price increases, in particular for the electricity sector.
Of course, had the survey been initiated in May, when it was originally scheduled, there would have been ample time available for the council to consult with all ratepayers, detailing the basis of proposed rate increase, including any proposed special variation, their purpose and the impact of such increases directly on them.
The council could have provided a reply-paid envelope to facilitate the return of the surveys and could also have pointed out to ratepayers that if they failed to complete and return the survey, the council would assume they supported the proposed rate increases.
As it is, the so-called “consultation” process has not only proved to be a very expensive exercise, but also one that is arguably of very doubtful value.