Merimbula Letters to the Editor, August 14

Make Merimbula great

Having visited Merimbula for many years for holidays, but after a break of a couple of years, I was so disappointed in the shopping sector.

Several closed shops in the main shopping area, apart from the newsagent, a good shoe shop, Harris Scarfe, a couple of home decor and a few others, the shopping was the same as any rural town.

But being a tourist town I believe the tourist is looking for something different. Please review your rental fees, and make Merimbula great again.

Jennifer Atkinson, Bairnsdale

Disgusting litter

I have just returned from Merimbula, and I am disgusted at the amount of litter around town.

If you walk up past the old Woollies site you would not believe the state of the surrounds, look a little further to below the stairs leading to Best and Less, then look around the Target car park (heaps of plastic bits). The car parks are no better.

All the gutters around town need to be swept. When it does rain, all this rubbish will be washed into our lake, bad for the fish, bad for the environment, and the oysters.

I think some responsibility lies with the tenants in the shops, also the landlords of the vacant shops, and lastly the council.

So it's not only the rubbish bins that need attention (as per Kim Louise Barron's letter, MNW, 7/8) but the town needs a good sweep.

Helen Limbach, Pambula

Provide parking 

Merimbula CBD needs parking so people can visit it. Everybody knows it, so council needs to provide it.

Meredith Holmes, Merimbula

Crossings would benefit

I have a disability called cerebral palsy and I have trouble crossing across the roads in my home town Pambula.

I would really appreciate if they have zebra crossing at the crossing next to the butchers shop to walk across to the shops. It is hard for me to cross the road there because of my disability I have to wait more than 20 minutes.

I would like a zebra crossing when you walk across to Bendigo Bank and another zebra crossing from where the newsagent is across to the Top Pub.

A zebra crossing from Bendigo Bank to the Top Pub would really make life for me and other residents wanting to cross the road easier.

Cara Hay, Pambula

Learn from others

Has there been any research done on towns around the globe that's have managed to succeed with the cruise ship opportunities? If these things have been done successfully before why not learn from that rather than hope for the best.

Hayden Lewis, Pambula Beach

Funding vote divisive

This letter has been forwarded to Andrew Constance MP for Bega and will be of interest to local volunteers and community groups who have applied for My Community Project grant funding and are voting online for their project to win.

I hope more volunteers will join other community groups in contacting the local member to improve future funding application processes.

My Community Project grant funding of $260,000 is available for each state electorate which means the funds will be spread very thinly indeed because of the large number of worthwhile projects nominated. In the Bega electorate alone, there are 35 projects requesting total funding of over $2.7million.

All of these projects are worthwhile to the community involved and most are infrastructure based which is value for the future.

So, while Sydney gets billion dollar roads, tunnels and sports arenas, we in regional areas get breadcrumbs scattered before us and have to beg for that. The grant funding offered is 90% less than what the community applied for.

For future funding rounds, it is requested that the voting system be scrapped and the various projects be assessed on their merit. Perhaps by shire councillors and/or RDA board members who should have local knowledge compared to out-of-touch city based government departments.

This voting system tends to split communities and community groups while encouraging parochial attitudes in an unseemly fight for limited public funds. It is likely that smaller community groups will be disadvantaged due to being outnumbered in a public voting system by larger community groups.

Those that miss out will wonder who in the community voted against their project which could lead to some volunteers giving up.

There is also an issue with older residents who generally make up the majority of volunteers in community groups. The grant application and online voting system is onerous and beyond many who are not skilled in computer use.

There is also the potential for harvesting of private information, the supply of which is a requirement for every voter to vote online. It would be interesting to know the cost of the voting system and if it is audited.

In the broader picture of applying for funding grants, federal, state and private, it has become extremely complex and time-consuming for community groups in recent years.

Excessive details and red tape in pages of application forms and more documentation required to be attached.

Please consider issuing simplified grant funding applications and then request more detail from those shortlisted in an attempt to ease the growing administrative burden on community groups.

Gary Smith, manager TeenSafe, Moruya