Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Pambula worthy of better

I have regularly holidayed in Pambula for over 40 years, as have my in-laws since the 1950s. We appreciate the town's need for a new supermarket. But reading the applicants' submissions, I am amazed that the current Royal Willows redevelopment proposal is even being considered.

Scale: Pambula is a neighbourhood service centre under council planning. Yet at around 1400 square metres the proposal is 40% larger than what a neighbourhood redevelopment would look like. This overscale is reflected in the 98 car spaces proposed, being 12 above council required standards and 30 provided below the council designated flood plain level.

Underground car parking: Basement car parking built below council designated flood levels might work in intensively developed urban areas, protected by extensive water related infrastructure and where flooding is rare. Although even modern Aldi-built supermarkets have experienced recent basement flooding. But as mapping in council's 2021 River Flood Data Study shows, this proposal will sit at the bottom of a hill, in a town itself surrounded by wooded fields and renowned for its flooding. The adjoining highway and wetlands are effectively a channel for sea and lake-bound water flows. Climate change further exacerbates flooding concerns.

Social and Economic impacts: A pub demolition does not need five pages of analysis on the impacts of alcohol, in order to justify the retention of a bottle shop. A supermarket for a town that will soon be without one, hardly requires six pages of detailed financial tables to win council approval. The applicants' submission noted local population growth was flat. So perhaps their two-page analysis of regional tourism growth is of interest to potential buyers, in the market for a supermarket/ café/ bottle shop development site, all council approved?

Traffic: A properly funded traffic survey is needed. The legitimate analysis offered was constrained by the use of a lower cost methodology and as a result, relied on rubbery RTA modelling with its dependency on, I suspect, outdated RTA survey data.

I am unconvinced by the promise of a boom gate to regulate bottle shop traffic and large delivery lorries exiting onto Quondola St, close to a major T intersection. Already big supermarket chains are lobbying for COVID de-restricted delivery hours to be made permanent. Promised time restrictions on lorry entries into Quondola St may easily be lifted by a future state government, lobbied heavily by supermarket chains, in turn supported by future owners.

Council performance. Our local council flick-passed the construction and maintenance of the site's once public water culvert/ drainage infrastructure over to current and future supermarket owners. It then left the community consultations up to the well-intentioned business chamber. Whereupon it handed over the Royal Willows' planning approvals decision to a no doubt surprised regional planning body.

Yet we still await their long anticipated guide to coastal development following the release last July of their Pambula flood study data report.

Pambula is not mindfully considered at Bega Town Hall. This beautiful little town is worthy of much better representation.

Jack Downey, Newcastle (but soon to retire in Pambula)

Do as I say, not as I do

You told us to stay home for two weeks to "flatten the curve" and so we did what you asked and 18 months later we are still locked in our homes.

You kept brothels open but closed churches and cemeteries.

You kept alcohol and fast food stores open but closed the gyms and parks.

You tell us you are "following the science" while subjecting us to arbitrary restrictions with zero basis in science and refuse to make the health advice public.

You said "we're all in this together" while we lost our jobs and needed to home school while you got pay rises.

You made us quarantine in small hotel rooms while making special rules for Hollywood stars to enter our country.

You keep Australian citizens from returning home to be with family while allowing Caitlyn Jenner into the country to film Big Brother.

You refuse individuals the ability to visit relatives interstate but give special exemptions to entire football teams and their wives to move into different states.

Your science tells us that masks are unsafe and that there have been no cases of outdoor transmission, but you punish people who don't wear masks outdoors and ban outdoor activities.

You tell us that last year's BLM march was safe but that our protest for freedom is a super spreader event. Is it any wonder people are at breaking point. This is severely impacting our children and their mental health.

Thank you politicians.

Jody McKenzie-Smith, Merimbula

Ratepayers losing out

Regarding the sale of Hotel Australasia, I see another case where Bega ratepayers have been ripped off and council's friends get to make a killing. It seems to happen a lot in the Valley.

Micheal Reynolds, Tura Beach

How far do freedoms go?

if someone has a medical exemption from having a COVID vaccination, what does that mean in practice? If fully vaccinated adults are given more freedoms, do those freedoms also extend to those with a vaccination exemption?

Sue Boyton, Pambula​

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