Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner's editor: September 5, 2018

Rate rise a burden

Port Stephens Council’s Special Rate Variation (SRV) proposal, if approved, will see some residential rates rise by up to a $1000 p.a. or more. 

Under the SRV, rates can be expected to rise by 6.5 to 8.5 per cent per annum each and every year, from 2019 for seven years. These extraordinary rate rises of about 55 to 75 per cent over seven years may continue, despite the fact that a great deal of the wish list items are one-offs. 

Also, with increasing land values to be factored in, the rate rises will be even further hiked over the next few years.

Surely council should be looking to reduce the burden on the forgotten battlers, rather than have them suffer even more from unaffordable, cost-of-living expenses. They are already suffering from exorbitant power prices, record fuel costs and the likelihood of rising mortgage rates.

I would suggest a better strategy would be a mix of measures with council increasing CBD densities, cost savings, less ambitious spending, state/federal  grants, surplus asset sales and finally, a much more modest SRV proposal would see a more realistic expectation on ratepayers. An increased population density would spread the burden over more residents.

The NSW State Government is proposing to spend billions of dollars on sporting facilities in Sydney, yet it seems we in the regions have to pay for our own. 

Surely PSC could apply for a grant to pay for the improvements to the sports complex, especially with a state election happening soon.

If the mayor and his fellow councillors feel they can just ignore the plight of ratepayers, they should pay more attention to recent events in Canberra.

Paul Attard, Nelson Bay

Bulldoze the trees

I have lived on Brownes Road for 41 years but back then it was safe from the bushfires that we are getting now.

The last bad fire was five years ago and prior to that my two neighbours lost their homes, while others lost garages and sheds.

I also lost 13 out-buildings including my boat building business plus three boats and machinery. We face this situation every five to seven years.

The problem with the water table at Tanilba became the fire problem we have today. Back then the land had no trees, only knee high undergrowth.

The water table was too high for the growing town of Tanilba Bay so the authorities decided to drain the moors to lower the water table. But over time the area became a bushland.

It took a few years for the trees and dense shrubs to grow abundantly and they soon overtook the whole area.

I am in my 94th year, a fourth generation fisherman and also a boat builder. I have prawn fished the Hunter in the summer months since 1941 and had a boat building business in the winter since 1945.

I shifted to Brownes Road from Fern Bay in 1977. Where we have high trees now, there was none from my front yard. 

There is only one solution in my opinion: bulldoze the trees and shrubs with a heavy chain and revert the land back to what it was.

Reg Hyde, Salt Ash

Lib selection no surprise

The Libs have selected their state candidate for Port Stephens. It was hardly a surprise.

She will have a battle. She is a candidate of a party that sold six hectares of Mambo Wetlands by mistake.

It’s the same party that has sold off Port Waratah, the poles and wires in the eastern part of the state, and replaced a heavy rail line with light rail along Hunter street thus bankrupting some businesses.

The candidate has also shown her support to a massive rate rise for Port Stephens ratepayers. 

Bay Marshall, Tanilba Bay

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