WE have recently moved to Salamander Bay from Hervey Bay in Queensland.
I am writing this letter to let all the residents in Port Stephens know what happens when councils amalgamate.
In fact I am warning residents about what happens when these amalgamations take place...
Seven years ago the Hervey Bay Council amalgamated with Maryborough and many satellite country towns around the area.
What has happened has been disastrous to say the least. We have gone from paying $1800 a year in rates and sewerage etc to paying $3000 a year for fewer services. The roads are in dire need of maintenance and things are pretty dire in the community.
Yes, some good things have happened - a new "Town Hall" is one of them but most disturbing is the fact that Hervey Bay has one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia.
But that is not all - property values have fallen considerably - we have been trying to sell our townhouse but have been offered less than we bought it for 10 years ago.
Beware and be very afraid of amalgamations. They never work for the people who have put their faith in the local councils and mayors.
Mike and Win Giles
Speaking from experience
WE lived in Port Douglas when the council was so dysfunctional that the community welcomed the Cairns-Douglas Shire merger. It was a disaster.
Rates doubled ($5,000 to $10,000 pa immediately) and our shire’s representation fell to one councillor on a council of twelve.
The revenue contribution of Douglas Shire was not recognised as the expanded Cairns council proceeded to kill the goose that was laying the golden eggs.
The merger failed and the decision was quickly reversed. My prediction is that this merger offers no benefit to Port Stephens residents. On the contrary.
Debris needs attention
IT WAS pleasing to see two Letters published about storm debris and damage needing the council’s attention (Examiner, January 21).
I hope that Steve Hicks and Alan Barnes join me in regularly reporting to the council what needs to be done.
It is unlikely to happen unless you report and highlight safety. Send a photo for good measure.
Parks and roadside staff are too few in number and are stretched to the limits on regular jobs. Throw in several severe storms over a two year period and there is obviously catch up to be done.
Subdivision clearing has made Bagnall Beach Reserve a precious haven for birds and wildlife. Many of us who use this area regularly might not perceive this as a bushfire waiting to happen (Alan Barnes).
Our volunteer Baggies Bush Regen group will be back in February on a fortnightly basis to target particular environmental weeds and garden escapes.
We would not want to see a knee jerk reaction to clearing or burn offs.
Hon Secretary/Works Co-ordinator, Corlette Parks Reserves & Landcare Group
Remember who votes
THE NSW government must remember that it is elected for the people.
Both major parties are not listening to what the electorate wants. Bigger is not better and with the merger the outlying areas are worse off.
This has been proven with the splitting of Murrurundi council & been merged into Upper Hunter Council & Liverpool Plains Council. So pity help Port Stephens if this merger is allowed to take place.