Bega District Letters to the Editor, April 3

Telling history

There may not be a lot of what Turnbull says that I would agree with, but what he said in Bega about the recent Tathra fire seemed to me to be more accurate than some locals who tried to link the fires to climate change.  

Of course millions of tons of sequestered carbon being released into the atmosphere should cause problems, just as thousands of tons of jet fuel being burnt daily in our delicate upper atmosphere should. When we look at the history of European settlement in Australia and the demise of patch burning by the first Australians, it seems to me that wildfires have become a ‘natural’ and regular part of Australia.  

The Brogo Brigade website sums it up well. “On average, the Bega Valley has about 60 bushfires each year and 3 to 4 of these are considered significant. Major fires which burnt over 1000ha resulting in loss of life property or economic value occurred in 1906, 1926, 1939, 1942, 1952, 1972, 1980, 1985, and 1988.” This fire history is repeated Australia wide.

When a fire starts in bush with high fuel loads, on a day with high temperatures, very low humidity, and very strong westerly winds, then it is likely to become a “normal” wildfire with possible disastrous consequences.  As Turnbull said, “bushfires are part of Australia”. 

It might be fashionable to claim climate change is the cause of all our disasters now, but where is the proof of the recent fire being related to climate change when we have such a long history of disastrous wildfires?

Maybe a look at our fire history would help some to understand what really happens instead of making what I would consider is a spurious claim.

Rather than trying to politicise a disaster we all should be very thankful there was such a well organised response and for the amazing work provided by the air support .

David Wood, Bega

Road a worry

As I write this letter an ambulance and rescue crew go racing to Bermagui Rd to the scene of an accident. I am concerned about the amount of accidents along the Cobargo-Bermagui Rd.

In the BDN (16/2/17) an article headed "Bega Valley's worst roads? What it takes to get safety upgrades" the Bermagui road was declared "a Bega Valley hotspot" for accidents. Safety improvements and speed zone reviews were needed.

And the results? The holes were filled and the edges/weeds were trimmed.

The volume of traffic has increased enormously. No longer is Bermagui a  "little sleepy fishing village". Christmas I think was the busiest ever and this tourist traffic has not stopped. We have Christmas, New Year, dog shows, surf carnivals, Cobargo Folk Festival, Seaside Fair, fishing comps and Four Winds, which all bring in many interstate tourists.

It is very popular for cyclists to go from Bermi to Cobargo and back.... a death wish really. There is no edge to retreat to if you are run off the road. Woolies has at least three or more trucks a day travelling to Bermi to bring fresh food. Plus the quarry and other trucks for other businesses. I have met a few trucks and wide load trucks and had to try and pull off the road. 

The population has swelled and is getting bigger with land releases and sub divisions.

A DA has been put forward to develop 10 lots that will join the Bermagui Rd – 10 lots near where there was a fatal accident. I feel that 20 cars exiting and entering the road at a "hotspot" where vision is not clear into 100kmh traffic is a recipe for disaster.

People speed, they jump all over the road in and out of potholes, they take the corners and bends too fast. The road camber is wrong in certain places. Your vision is blinded when driving west into the setting sun. Add wildlife and fog.

How many accidents have to happen before this road is upgraded properly and speeds reviewed?

Kathy Wilson, Cobargo

Firefighters from all emergency agencies are thanked with a huge night out at the Tathra Hotel on Thursday. Picture: Katrina Walsh

Firefighters from all emergency agencies are thanked with a huge night out at the Tathra Hotel on Thursday. Picture: Katrina Walsh