Merimbula letters to the editor, July 12

Manager of Merimbula Tourism Nat Kirby was farewelled at a lunch at the Merimbula RSL Club last week prior to taking up a contract with Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism, SA.

Manager of Merimbula Tourism Nat Kirby was farewelled at a lunch at the Merimbula RSL Club last week prior to taking up a contract with Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism, SA.

Respect ratepayers’ rights

Jon Gaul’s mean-spirited letter, “Green Stacking at Tura” (MNW, 5/7) did nothing to support his cause.

His arrogant inference that residents of the shire who do not live within walking distance of The Point Dolphin Cove area should not be allowed to express their views on the NTBRA proposals is outrageous.

Quite properly, the council-sponsored event he refers to was open to all, partly because the NTBRA is seeking tangible council support for its proposals. These proposals include the clearing of forested areas on the coastal fringe which currently provide valuable habitat for our diverse wildlife, robust defence against severe erosion and protection from the strong winds frequently experienced in the area.

Ratepayers have a legitimate interest in ensuring the money they contribute is spent wisely, and all those who attended the meeting, wherever they live within the shire and whatever their colour (even Green!), have the right to air their views and to expect them to be respected and carefully considered by council.

Council tries to act in the interests of all its ratepayers, not just a small group of people who want to clear vegetation on the coastal fringe behind their homes.

Andrew and Olga Walker, Tura Beach

Harmonious way forward

We agree with Jon Gaul (MNW, 5/7) that the start of the meeting was quite chaotic, largely because his NTBRA group in its letterbox drop had given an earlier starting time than the council.

When council officers arrived to set up there was already a big group of confused people milling about and it was difficult to know what was supposed to be happening. After the “Listening Post” finished at 5.30pm, the workshop started as promised.

Although the leaders of NTBRA somehow felt the meeting should have been all about only their proposal, the Living With Nature group had also put in a proposal to council, which is one reason why the meeting was called to increase understanding of the issues and seek people’s feedback and try to find a way forward that most people are happy with.

The director of planning and environment gave us background on council’s role. We were all asked to consider and make known what values we place on our coastal reserves, which seems a good place to start if changes are proposed. Then groups heard the Rural Fire Service and the recreation and environmental officers of the council explain their roles and constraints in terms of coastal reserves at Tura.

At the end of the workshop we were asked to suggest the best way forward. We were impressed by the number and mix of the people attending and that the vast majority of people there were prepared to listen and talk comfortably and without aggression.

As the meeting was finalised it was very clear that most people there felt there are ways forward that most people want and that we can work together to make our neighbourhood and our nature harmonious for the future.

There was no restriction on who could attend the Tura Coastal Reserve meeting and no invitation list that we were aware of. If people from further afield than Tura attended the meeting then we suggest they were simply interested in the plans for Tura Reserve.  There were a few present who didn’t want to listen to others and a few people who were obviously angry because they had not managed to have only their views heard. They were definitely in the minority and the evening made it clear that most people who live here wish to live quietly and peacefully with their neighbours and their nature intact.

We learned a lot from the information council shared and thank them for organising the event and those councillors who attended. We look forward to how the results of the meeting will inform council’s management in the future.

Libby Hepburn, Tura Beach

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