YOUR SAY: Blue Mountains Gazette letters to the editor - July 21, 2021.

Change of park?

Council's project to build a youth park is a good idea (BMG 14.7.21), however finding a suitable space to do this is critical.

The management plan shows a large construction. Its location is proposed at the back of Buttenshaw Park where it is not visible from a main road, minimal lighting and no security camera installations. For local residents this will mean an increase in traffic while security and antisocial behaviour may also increase.

Prior to the Springwood Aquatic centre construction there was a temporary skate board ramp installed within the park. Local residents reported an increase in property damage and antisocial behaviours. It was then moved to within the car parking area of Springwood Station close to the highway for increased visibility and security. A permanent skate ramp has since been built in Glenbrook on the corner of Great Western Highway and Hare Street. This again has good visibility from a main road hence security is increased.

Why then is the back of Buttenshaw Park being considered?

An increase in parking requirements has not been addressed in the plan and currently Churchill St, Churchill Place and Plateau Road are heavily used by pool and gym attendees. The existing car park does not cater for the current attendees.

Traffic congestion when turning into and out of Churchill St will occur and traffic queues may be a safety hazard.

I believe the current site of the Glenbrook skate ramp may be a more appropriate site for the construction of the youth park as it would address the above concerns. Has council considered any other sites as this has not been clear in the proposal?

The community consultation has not been thorough on this project.

Lorraine Neill, Springwood.

Buttenshaw Park in Springwood

Buttenshaw Park in Springwood

Back Buttenshaw

Councillors, count me as a strong supporter of the upgrade plans for Buttenshaw Park. When I looked at the plans I thought the community would welcome these wonderful changes to a very beautiful but limited, underused and tired park. I guess the teenagers will need to continue to do their parkour in illegitimate places. We are moving back to Springwood having just bought our forever home in Lewin Street. My son and daughter loved this park when they were toddlers. They are now 25 and 28 and it's been a long time since this park got some love.

Donna Savage, Springwood.

Scared of change

My family and I are residents of Springwood and live around the aquatic centre precinct. I find it absolutely crazy that Buttenshaw Park plans have been rejected. Why is this? I have found people are scared of change and still want the place to remain as it did in 1970. It's an absolute joke.

When the supermarket proposal went in, people said, we want Springwood to remain as it is and keep the community feel. Give me a break - it's 2021.

Wentworth Falls get an upgrade to the lake twice, Glenbrook gets an upgrade twice and Springwood gets rejected because of some narks.

And don't get me started on the airport. If you want to live in your harmonious, rainbow loving scenario, go to Antarctica so we don't have to put up with your garbage

Ryan Loder, Springwood.

Resurrecting Roza

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, but as any peddler knows it's a risky business getting high on your own supply. That's why the decision by the Liberal Party to pre-select Roza Sage for Ward 3 at the upcoming council election is so peculiar. The Liberals ought to know better than anyone else that when the former Blue Mountains MP lost her seat in state parliament she suffered an average swing against her of 8.4 per cent in the very booths she now seeks to represent on council. At what had been, in 2011, her strongest booth in that area (Winmalee Public School with a two party preferred result for Ms Sage of 67.7 per cent), the swing against her in 2015 was an eye-watering 19.14 per cent in two party preferred terms.

Reanimating the careers of fallen political comrades can be an attractive proposition for many party operatives, but it's usually unsuccessful. In any case, voters in Wards 2 and 3 deserve local candidates who want to work for the community in a co-operative and constructive way.

The Liberals' decision to pre-select two candidates from out of area in both the Mid-Mountains and Springwood-Faulconbridge regions shows their decisions are guided more by spite for the incumbent former Liberals (who've since turned Independent), Crs Chris Van Der Kley and Daniel Myles than by anything else.

Tom Harris-Brassil, Wentworth Falls.

End of an era

It's very sad to see the last passengers hop off the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus. And a very sad day for general manager Jason Cronshaw and his father, John, the founder of the service. But it's understandable and almost inevitable without passengers to ride it.

I was there at the start. John had this great vision, to step into the unknown. It was a great adventure which ended up being one of the great attractions of the Mountains. It also contributed greatly to the resurrection of the local tourism industry in the '80s by getting visitors to see much more than just the traditional attractions. The more they saw, the longer they stayed, the more they spent.

It helped turn day visitors into stay visitors.

Back in April 1986, with John, we stuck a magnetic banner to the side of a Golden West Tours bus. And on that very first departure from Katoomba station, two young backpacker girls saw the word 'Explorer' on the side of the bus, 'Hopped On', and we set off on a tour around Katoomba and Leura. I still have the original timetable and poster. There was great support from the council, tourism operators, staff of Blue Mountains Tourism Authority, the Gazette and some great artwork from a local design studio.

The concept of 'Hop on, Hop off' was new and John modelled it on the Sydney Explorer which copied the idea from London where it all began.

Thank for a wonderful service for 35 years. Let's hope we will see it again when things get back to 'normal'.

Graeme DubĂ©, Glenbrook.

Dam wall risks

State Government Minister Stuart Ayres says that raising the Warragamba dam wall has "nothing to do with allowing more development in high risk areas" (BMG 14.7.21). Yet, it is inevitable that the government's policies for regional population increases will add to pressure to flood Blue Mountains wilderness and create other serious risks for our area.

Despite the government's stated intentions, there is no momentum toward Parramatta and the Badgerys airport precinct becoming city centres in their own right. All we are witnessing is totally uncontrolled urban sprawl. During the current pandemic, a great many people still have to travel long distances from one part of the metropolis to another for genuinely essential work. The vulnerability of public health and our economy in this situation is being cruelly demonstrated.

Some trees are being planted along the proposed Great West Walk but the total vegetation cover of the western Sydney basin is being reduced and many square kilometres are being newly paved or covered with buildings. Not only is this compromising native flora and fauna but it is contributing to local climate change through a heat island effect.

Tens of thousands of extra people will soon be coming to the Blue Mountains every week, seeking usable open space and cooler temperatures. With the current trend of people wanting to live in self-contained communities, it is time to reverse the government's intentions to overpopulate greater Western Sydney. The dam raising and other policies must be viewed in this context.

Don Morison, Katoomba. 

Impartial Gazette

I, for one, am more than happy to see part of my council rates going towards advertising in the Gazette, if it helps in a small way to help the paper survive these difficult times and keep us informed about what is going on in our unique region. Many other local papers from the same media stable (and others) have been less fortunate and forced by economic realities to cease printing, leaving their former readers with only digital access to a central amorphous news hub. Your correspondent, Rob Thompson (BMG 14.7.21) asks whether it's healthy, from an impartial reporting point of view, for the Gazette to be so reliant on advertising from a council whose members are popularly elected by the paper's readers. From this reader's perspective, the Gazette has never allowed commercial considerations to influence its reporting. The archive will show that the Gazette has never shrunk from publishing criticism of council's policies or actions, in either its reporting, its editorials or its readers' letters.

Peter Austin, Mount Victoria.

The tipping point

Back in 2000, concerns were raised about the Blaxland Waste Management Facility site where issues and concerns were discussed by council staff and residents.

In 2000 residents were informed that this site would be land filled for the next 20 years but with no closing date, not even when better technology would come about. Council told residents that it would be okay to landfill because it was seen as the cheaper option and that the 20 years would be needed to achieve the financial goals.

This way of thinking should be seen as an absolute shameful disgrace for the city within a world heritage national park.

Residents should be aware the council is now currently creating another cell because the current cells are so overfull that there is no option but to dig up and allow more landfill space and to expand the existing mound.

Residents also need to be aware that some residential properties are less than 300 metres away when council previously said the minimum safe distance away should be no closer than 450 metres.

Major concerns include polluted air, toxic gases, unhealthy odours, noise volumes, road traffic, increased noise, visibility, landfill wastage increase and unhealthy lifestyles, and is not limited to just these issues.

William Buchanan, Warrimoo.

Woes for locals

Do you know if your current councillor is interested in addressing resident concerns from Blaxland tip? Do you know if your future councillor is interested?

Do you realise that the tip site was once within the Blaxland area but has extended to the Warrimoo area and will continue extending in all directions.

Do you know how close your residential boundary fence is to the tip's boundary? Residential healthy boundaries distances are being reduced, with some boundaries now less than 300 metres away. Do residents consider this distance is a healthy distance away for a healthy living lifestyle?

Councillors do not live around sighting distance or odour distance from the tip but expect residents to just accept it.

Election year is the time to try to change,to act and to speak up to try and better your area of living.

The issues with the tip will only continue if residents do nothing.

Mick Smith, Warrimoo.

Trust the ABC

Even the ABC's most ardent fans would admit that the ABC doesn't always get it right. Even so, approaching its 90th year it remains Australia's most trusted news source. In times of national crisis the national broadcaster's role is more important than ever, especially in the feverish context of debating the truth about COVID-19.

Take Clive Palmer's garish yellow flyer delivered to many Blue Mountains homes this week labelled: 'To the Adult Householder . Urgent Communication. Open Sealed Section to View!' I did. Inside I found a kind of COVID porn. Could this be the work of a rich man spreading fear and loathing in the community by suggesting that over 200 people have died because they'd been vaccinated?Ads with a similar message broadcast on Queensland commercial radio were withdrawn after the Therapeutic Goods Administration labelled them misleading.

ABC Fact Check reported Palmer misrepresented data from the TGA showing that while 210 Australians had died following their vaccinations, the cause of all but one death was unrelated to the vaccine. I suspect that most people will see Palmer's message for what it is - dangerous scaremongering. Let's hope no one takes him seriously.

Nick Franklin, Katoomba.

Ditch the car

In response to Robert Deahm's letter (7.7.21), I would like to take up his invitation to come up with practical solutions to the traffic problems in the Mountains. Concentrating on the bridge in Katoomba where I live, I can see one workable solution: Considering that the more roads, tunnels and bridges you build the more traffic you will get, I would advise against making more space for private cars to stuff up our towns, ears and lungs.

The most sustainable way is to improve public transport, namely the train system. Faster, safer and, most importantly, more frequent trains could convince residents and visitors to consider making their trip to our world heritage area part of their experience to relax and to enjoy the stunning views, without having to negotiate traffic.

For those people who are genuinely dependent on their car, we could provide car parks plus shuttle buses, in Katoomba's case on the north of the station near the highway. If we wanted to take a leaf out of many European towns, we could then keep our cozy villages traffic-free by creating pedestrian and cycling centres, a proven way of increasing small shops' business.

I gave away my car 30 years ago and have never looked back, even though, with the lack of public transport in Australia, I do have to plan my outings a little more carefully but gladly, when I think of the environmental and health benefits I enjoy.

Angelika Treichler, Katoomba.

Cost to economy

Thanks to Julius Zimmermann for his rant on climate change policy. Alas, no constructive solutions and the costs thereof addressed. It's all very well for political leaders to make feel-good statements about a target without elucidating how to attain those targets and the cost to their economies.

One nation that is true to this is China who say they will try and get to zero emissions by 2060. Meanwhile they continue apace to build coal-fired power stations. Germany, whom most of Australians would think are embracing renewables, burn wood to generate power, and open new coal mines (burning highly polluting lignum), because they have realised that without these inputs their industries will suffer.

Here we do not need to worry about industry because we basically have no heavy industry - we have sold our souls to China to provide just about everything from steel to cheap cars. So we become captive to the 'woke' pronouncements from the UN and bodies like the BMCC who huff and puff about a climate emergency but offer absolutely no sustainable solutions other than for the 'people' to heavily subside schemes such as windmills and solar which to date have only meant our power bills keep increasing.

Why should our leaders make silly pronouncements about imaginary targets when we are some way from letting science and market forces determine what will be effective for Australians to make the slightest difference to climate change?

Andrew Niemeyer, Leura.