Merimbula Letters to the Editor, February 12

Challenge of Fire

I've watched both the ABC and Channel 7 on the South East Fires, and where Q&A was emotive, the Cobargo Fire report clearly emphasised the failure of local and state government to allow control of the fuel on the forest floor.

In 2000-02 I attended meetings with council staff as they rewrote the LEP for the Bega Valley and the clear message then was the shire was becoming "greener" in attitude, so get used to it.

That was followed by Bob Carr annexing large parts of our shire as national parks and various state governments introducing continuous legislation to preserve native vegetation and recently, biodiversity; and, at the same time, reducing financial and general commonsense commitment to land management to assist those objectives.

It's not often now that you see bureaucrats away from the desktop analysis, checking on reality - and in the name of economic rationalisation and city centric focus, country NSW has faded into political insignificance until now.

The result has been continual expensive "road blocks" that stop development and increased land use controls that did not exist 30 years ago when Mayor Reg Taylor helped me to burn off land that I then owned, adjacent to his, at Kalaru at a time when commonsense overruled excessive, expensive and unnecessary regulation.

At great personal cost to our community, let's hope substantial change will now occur.

Michael Britten, Merimbula

Poo compost survey

Many of your readers may be dog owners. A 2019 Pets in Australia report tells us we live with over five million companion dogs. That's a whole lot of dog poo to deal with!

I'm a PhD student at CQUniversity Australia and a dog owner myself. I'm researching whether we can compost dog poo at home and make it safe for use in backyard vegie gardens.

An important part of my study is finding out how much poo dogs produce, whether their owners pick it up, what they use and what they do with it.

Your readers can help out my taking part in my online survey. It's short, anonymous, and asks questions about their views and habits around collection and disposal of dog poo. Any Australian dog owner over 13 years old can participate.

Thanks for helping get the word out!

Emily Bryson

Best of humanity

I volunteered at the Bega evacuation centre caring for people's animals, as well as my own, along with a fantastic, hardworking team in the same boat. We were all staying at the evacuation centre and decided to pitch in to look after the increasing number of animals being brought in.

Yet I hear now that some people are saying we only did so for "the glory". This is extremely disappointing and hurtful.

I did it to support Hayden, from Local Land Services, and Gerrie, who was on her own at the start caring for an increasing number of pets. They needed help. Simple as that.

Then a wonderful family from Cobargo joined us. They slept in the shed to keep the animals safe at night. We quickly became swamped and put a call out for more volunteers. People rocked up and got to work with no fuss or fanfare.

We all had animals there, and understood other pet owners had other commitments or were very traumatised, and needed support to care for their pets.

I loved the team work and generosity and humility of everyone who helped out. We were wonderfully supported by Local Land Services and even had vets available as needed.

None of us did it for "glory". It is absolutely disgraceful to run people down for simply doing their bit. I saw the very best of humanity during the height of the fire crisis. Leave it at that.

Name and address supplied

Long-term smoke worry

I think more concern should be shown towards the long term effect of breathing in contaminated air, which is what we're all doing/have been doing for the last month or so. Just because it's not black with smoke like New Year period it doesn't mean it's any less harmful.

There must be enough smoke to harm you if there's enough to mask the normally bright summer sun, surely. So why are most people, including the vulnerable senior citizens and the children not being advised to use masks when they are out and about?

There's no longer any "healthy country ai " around us anymore. We are going to be paying for the laxity in enforcing masks during this period for years to come with breathing problems, lung diseases and even cancer.

We really don't know what we're breathing in - lead, mercury, asbestos? Be sensible. Wear a mask. This is not the time to show you are a tough guy.

Some people are more vulnerable to get these diseases but since we don't know who is vulnerable, it makes sense to protect yourself. Nobody will be able to cough for you when your chest hurts 10 years from now. You will have to cough it all out by yourselves.

Dr KR Rajesh, Bega

Funding priorities

A short survey; what would you rather have?

1. A fully government-funded and equipped Rural Fire Service in NSW

2. A new stadium in Sydney

You can only pick one.

Send your response to

Grant Kennett, Corlette