The sale of the old Merimbula library represents an enormous opportunity for the town. At the outset, the planned development is a significant vote of confidence in Merimbula’s future and will send a strong message that the town is ripe for investment.
Like any large company, Aldi, which will likely be the main tenant in the development, invests a large amount of money in market research, which is clearly telling them they’re backing a winning horse in Merimbula.
Aldi’s unique offering and alternative to other supermarkets in the district will likely turn Merimbula into a destination for many shoppers across the region. The subsequent increase in foot traffic and economic activity will be a huge positive for existing shops.
In addition, council have promised land sale proceeds will be reinvested into a large-scale car park for the town, something locals know the CBD desperately needs.
But despite all the positives, poorly executed developments of this size can quickly have a negative impact on a town’s appeal, especially in regional areas.
Council must now join with the developer, RomFam Investments, to consult with the community and take locals’ concerns seriously, especially business owners who might be anxious about the impact the development could have on them. Solutions regarding traffic, parking and good design should also be a high priority. Council should also keep the public informed as the project progresses.
Residents and businesses should take the opportunity to engage with council and the Chamber of Commerce and have a hand shaping the project.
And finally with council elections less than two months away, it would be prudent for the incoming council to use this momentum and period of community consultation to establish a comprehensive - albeit long overdue - plan for the town.
Mitchell Nadin, Chamber of Commerce
Religious fanaticism in any form presents a danger to the open and free functioning of Western societies.
However, it now appears to question such fanaticism is to be cast as racist, intolerant or bigoted.
Strange that where a new cultural enters our country for a better life, they demand that their culture is not only accepted into the fabric of the adopting society, but that we change to accommodate their views.
Strange that when the general populace in the adopting country attempts to question the intolerance of such minority groups, the fault is said to lie with the majority in the established culture.
Australia has a long and overall proud heritage of accepting newcomers. Whilst we have experienced success, this does not mean that we are a homogenously blended society where all cultures have morphed into a single entity.
Australia has cultural diversity and separation within its society. There are areas where the imported culture has not given way to the host culture and this can be to the detriment of the host culture.
A new phenomenon is elements of a newcomer culture declaring war on the host culture, as we now find with certain Islamic immigrants.
History is filled with examples that would support the concept of a clash of civilisations between Christianity and Islam.
Islam has at its base a religious doctrine that is effectively its law. We practise the concept of separation of church and state.
We need to understand the implications of mixing such cultures and how we might mitigate unacceptable outcomes, indeed, if they can even co-exist in our country.
Hoping that by some miracle all will be well is not a considered policy, or more simply, wanting and hoping that oil and water will mix will not make it so.
This concerns what country and society we bequeath to our descendants – let’s get it right.
Robert Pritchard, Tura Beach
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