Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: August 9

An issue of governance

Margaret Wilkinson's letter (Examiner, August 2) in my opinion, was somewhat misleading, and sadly offensive to people with disagreeing views.

Firstly, she implied that previous Port Stephens Councils had not done their job, so the present council needs special rates variation (SRV) to catch up. That was misleading, and unfair to previous councillors and staff, some are still serving the present organisation.

I believe that  previous councils did well with little rates increases, otherwise we would now be in a worse situation.

Second, she called people disagreeing with the SRV proposal "whingers" who should attend meetings. That was sadly offensive.

Not all people need to attend meetings to be informed. Maybe she is not aware that information is readily available on the Internet and other media.

There are many who cannot attend meetings because of work and family, and some are aged or disabled.

They do pay rates directly or indirectly, and may well be the battlers who can ill afford SVR. We should all be mindful of homelessness (Examiner, Opinion, August 2).

Finally, she asked that "the new Mayor and council" be given a fair go to make a difference.

RATE RISE: Port Stephens Council is hosting a series of information sessions and discussions so residents can learn more about its Special Rate Variation proposal.

RATE RISE: Port Stephens Council is hosting a series of information sessions and discussions so residents can learn more about its Special Rate Variation proposal.

Eleven months since council elections, considerable time and resources have been wasted on proposals on excessive building heights, ill-conceived land sales, grandiose sporting complex, and a $404m wish-list.  

Perhaps the NSW government should order an audit on efficiency and effectiveness of the council, its decision making process and its plan for a better quality of community life.

Nothing personal, it's a governance issue.

Ernest To, Medowie

Send-off sealed with love

My husband Colin died on Christmas Eve 2018 after along battle with cancer.

Saturday, July 28 would have been his 65th birthday.  

My three sons and their families wanted to be with me for this day and I decided that it would be a very appropriate day to scatter his ashes according to his wish at One Mile Beach.

We lived nearby on Gan Gan Road and he loved this beautiful beach and spent many happy hours there walking and playing with the family.

I liaised with Phil Rock from the lifeguards and Kesh Govan from the Anglican Church and organised a small family gathering on the beach at midday on Saturday.

It couldn’t have been more perfect.  

We arrived at the beach to be greeted by a koala in a tree right by the path to the beach.  

As we arrived at the lifeguard hut, Phil greeted us to say he was very sorry, but we wouldn’t be able to take the ashes out on the jet ski as planned as there was a huge leopard seal injured on the beach.  

The seal had been there for three days with a fishing hook in it’s mouth and Parks and Wildlife were looking after it and hoping it would make it’s own way out to sea.  

I think the plan was to assist it if it hadn’t managed by itself on Monday.

There were lots of people on the beach that we had expected to be quite deserted, but it really didn’t detract from our purpose.  It enhanced the moment as Colin was a wildlife lover.

I said a few words of farewell to my husband of 42 years, Kesh said a beautiful prayer and my three boys took Colin’s ashes on paddle boards with Phil guiding them out to sea.  

As they went, so the seal took to the water and followed them, it was an incredible sight and so moving.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling of letting Colin go and knowing that this seal was with him and looking after him out at sea.

Peri Kennedy, Salamander Bay