Narooma News letters: Dec. 17

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Gun sales opposed

Your correspondent, S Kennedy (Narooma News 10/12/14) would like his long letter to be the last word on HuntFest.

However that cannot be, without correction of at least some of its distortions.

The 204 residents of the Shire who made submissions to the Council may be regarded as a fair representative sample of the adult population.

The “37,000 inhabitants” referred to by Mr Kennedy include children who presumably don’t yet have an opinion on HuntFest.

Of those 204 submissions, 81 per cent were opposed to an arms fair at HuntFest, a majority large enough to overwhelm any quibbles about sampling error.

Note that the polls in the daily newspapers use samples of about one thousand people to determine, with an accuracy of about 3 per cent, the opinions of millions.

It is true that a substantial majority of the submissions from outside the Shire supported the sale of guns.

This number was no doubt boosted by postings on the websites of the Shooters and Fishers Party and of a group called “Gundeals”, urging their members to make submissions even if they didn’t live in Eurobodalla.

The on-line petition of 40,000 signatories opposing HuntFest was indeed international and therefore demonstrates how widespread is the reaction against gun culture.

Many thousands were also “real Australians” a far larger number than those non-residents of the Shire who supported the variations.

Arguments over numbers can go on but the undeniable fact remains that in approving the variations, a majority of the Eurobodalla Shire Council once again contemptuously ignored their own “consultation” that showed that of those residents who made submissions, over 80 per cent do not want guns sold at the Narooma HuntFest.

Allan Baxter


Divided on rates, rises

On the November 25, the Eurobodalla Shire Council voted to adopt the Whitehead sea level rise (SLR) and planning framework report.

A few minor amendments were made to staff recommendations, but in essence the resolution supports the interim sea level rise policy that has caused so much damage to the local economy.

This decision was made against the advice of the NSW Treasurer and the Minister for the Environment.

In contrast, Shoalhaven councillors resolved not to adopt the Whitehead report, to limit the futuristic planning intervals to 50 years, and to monitor sea level rise with the use of local tide gauge readings. They rejected the use of unproven satellite measurements and computer models.

Once again the ESC has decided to blindly follow the advice of its bureaucrats, instead of following the lead of an astute neighbouring council, or taking the advice of two important state ministers.

They have opted to put their climate change ideology before common sense.

They have set the wheels in motion for the development of a coastal zone management plan that will place this shire at a permanent economic disadvantage to the Shoalhaven.

According to figures provided by property analysts RP Data, almost one billion dollars has been wiped off the value of Eurobodalla properties since the interim SLR policy took effect in late 2010.

As our values have fallen, Shoalhaven and Bega Shire values have risen.

Given that our Council’s poor sea level rise policy making has directly affected 25 per cent of Eurobodalla ratepayers, any reasonable political analyst would have expected a show of solidarity from the ERA councillors.

Not so. Narooma’s ERA councillors Neil Burnside and Peter Schwarz broke ranks to vote against the interests of the 6,000 sea level rise policy victims.

Two weeks later on December 9, Clr Burnside moved the motion for Council to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a rate rise.

Yes, that is the modest 5 per cent increase that council has now admitted is a whopping 25.97 per cent sting in the tail for all local ratepayers.

Not only has Clr Burnside abandoned the sea level rise affected ratepayers, he has now taken up the lead role in burdening all ratepayers with a huge rate increase.

An increase predicated on a list of minor works and maintenance that will do nothing to address the claimed council infrastructure back log.

Ian Hitchcock


VRA CREW: Selling Christmas candles and hats are the crew from the Narooma VRA rescue squad Mal Barry, Jacqui Smith, Stuart Kennedy, Cheryl Edward, Dave Alabaster and Jeff Garrad.

A VRA rescue squad wrap up for 2014

WITH Christmas almost upon us, it’s again time to thank all of those who have helped the Narooma Rescue Squad stay operational through the year.

Happily, once more it has been a fairly quiet time on the operational front: the VRA, like the Fire Service, Ambulance or Police, is one of the agencies that you like to have but not to need!

Several call-outs to accidents did occur, but on most occasions, because there was no-one trapped inside a vehicle, the Ambulance and Police were able to manage without needing our particular services (using the jaws of life, etc, to extricate patients, or haul injured persons up cliff faces).

On several occasions squad members assisted the Ambulance to carry patients out of difficult locations, including carrying a heart attack victim up the cliff from Bar Beach.

Members also assisted in the search for a missing person in the bush near Wollongong, and we did ‘rescue’ an ATV which had rolled down an escarpment, but most action in 2014 involved training for situations we happily did not have to face in reality.

The year did see a major upgrading of our capacity, however, as generous donations from a number of sources helped the rescue squad to purchase new portable LED lighting, ropes, climbing equipment, Lukas hydraulic gear, etc.

In particular, the Narooma Rotary Club and Quota Club donations helped fund the purchase of new-generation LED lights which can be carried to remote or off-road incidents (attendees at this year’s Christmas Carols may see some of this in action!)

Clubs NSW, through our local Club Narooma, purchased a portable stretcher that will make rough terrain evacuations much easier.

Dalmeny Deviates and HuntFest both provided generous cash donations that assisted the Squad to replace aging and outdated equipment and to meet ongoing running costs, such as the annual checks of our hydraulic cutters, rams and spreaders, which cost between $1000 and $2000 every time.

Other long-term, generous supporters again included the NRMA, Shell Narooma, Eurobodalla Shire Council, Town and Country Locksmiths, Two Brothers Tyres and More, Narooma Tyre Service, Accounting 4 Business and the ordinary people, generous to a fault, who support the VRA at the monthly Rotary Markets.

Thanks also to Narooma Plaza management, which has a mutually beneficial arrangement with us at the annual Christmas Carols.

And special thanks to Narooma News, which not only covers incidents in which we are involved, but gives the squad a great run via articles such as this!

While the Rescue Squad will remain on call to cover actual emergency rescue or search work, we will take a short break from weekly training over the Christmas-New Year period, with training to resume on Wednesday, January 7.

Anyone interested in joining the Squad can come to the Shed on the Head (beside Marine Rescue, Golf Course Lane) at 6pm any Wednesday next year, or call the secretary Cheryl on 4473 7682 with any queries.

Have a safe and happy Christmas and ‘excitement free’ 2015!

Stuart Kennedy


Narooma Rescue Squad

Mayor’s column – the year in review

In preparing to write my last column for the year, I have reflected on how I am tracking half way through my four year term with the goal that I set myself of making Eurobodalla a better place to live.

It has been a year that has seen some significant matters progress, a year of solid gains in securing funding from both the NSW and Commonwealth governments, and a good year for economic development initiatives.

We endorsed the Broulee Biodiversity Certification Strategy after three years of collaboration between council, local property owners and the Office of Environment and Heritage so that we could provide greater certainty for development in the area and support economic growth.

A new sea level rise policy framework was adopted so that we can offer a flexible approach to determining coastal hazards, and as guide for the development of our Coastal Zone Management Plan next year.

I am very proud that both the Biodiversity Certification and our Sea Level Rise Planning and Policy Response Framework were announced as winners of prestigious Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Awards last week, recognizing the projects as outstanding achievements by local government in managing and protecting the environment.

We approved the new $27 million Bunnings development in Batemans Bay which will bring new jobs during its construction phase and when it opens.

The new Tourism and Business Advisory Committees were established and I am chairing both these committees with the aim of council being able to seek the advice of industry experts on matters relating to economic development and strategic direction.

We have worked hard to secure funding for our important economic and social transport links and during 2014 – 2015 we received a commitment of $10 million from the NSW Government for the South Batemans Bay Spine Road and $500,000 from the Roads and Maritime Service for upgrades to the Kings Highway.

An additional $20 million was secured for the Kings Highway road safety project and this included $5 million for works around Nelligen. $560,000 of black spot funding will be put to improve parts of the Kings Highway, George Bass Drive and Tomakin Road.

The $4.6 million road and landscaping project to transform the Narooma Flat is now completed and will be enjoyed by locals and visors over the bust summer months ahead.

Some other grant funding we were successful in securing through the year includes $370,000 for shared pathways and pedestrian facilities, $42,000 for boat ramps, and $75,000 for road safety audits.

We secured $90,000 and have successfully developed the Involve Social Enterprise project which will provide meaningful paid employment for people living with disability in our community.

I believe that these projects and many more that I don’t have the space to include, are making Eurobodalla a better place to live for everyone.

I wish you all a happy, safe and prosperous holiday season and safe travels as well.

Please let me know if there is any issue you feel Eurobodalla Shire Council may be able to help you with.

You can email me at [email protected] phone me on 0418 279 215.

Clr Lindsay Brown

Mayor of Eurobodalla Shire

Thank you Mr Mayor

I wrote to our mayor several months ago stating the very poor shower facility we had at the swimming net Bar Beach.

I attached photos from another tourist town which had a very good set up.

He replied back to me within 24 hours stating he would look into it and seek advice from his staff.

Last week he informed me that temporary shower was to be upgraded for this season and quotes were being sought for further improvement.

Good work Lindsay and thanks for the action you carried out.

Bruce Morgan


Council basic essentials

It has become obvious that council has lost sight of what ratepayers funds are for.

First and foremost should come the health and wellbeing of the contributors with basic essentials such as sewerage, waste and public facilities.

Spending money on replacing playgrounds for $65,000 where the old one was perfectly good is ridiculous, when the nearby toilet block is dilapidated and dirty, hence the disabled woman from Dalmeny in a previous letter, having to be driven home from a family outing to go to the toilet.

Do we really need the proposed viewing platform on Carters Beach Headland which already is a natural lookout.

The $4.6 million spent on the Narooma Flat transformation seems excessive when the toilets at the boat ramp were out of order for five weeks and the roads there are potholed and buckling.

The $200,000 staircase that delivers people to an uncrossable road seems stupid, whereas some intelligent design, engineering and construction could have included a pedestrian overpass from further up the hill to the footpath side of the bridge.

The materials used for the stairs may look good now but will require plenty of ongoing maintenance.

I think it’s time the Office of Local Government stipulate council obligations as to what to spend money on, that they hire people who are properly qualified to carry out the works, and declare how much they pay these workers & themselves. Enough of the wastage.

B. Vit


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