Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: September 19

Be informed on plan impact

Thank goodness National Parks & Wildlife Service has agreed to extend the deadline for submissions regarding the proposed Tomaree Coastal Walkway and Amended Plan of Management for Tomaree National Park.

Incredibly, residents of Port Stephens were not included in the list of key stakeholders whose opinions and knowledge would be sought regarding the proposals. This includes residents whose properties are within a few metres of the proposed walkway - bringing perhaps thousands of tourists per day in peak season.

Everyone in the community has a right to be informed about proposals which will impact on their amenity. Many members of the local community have no knowledge of the implications or have only found out about them by accident. A big shout out to local member Kate Washington who was able to draw on her good working relationship with the NSW Environment Minister to get the deadline for submissions extended for a further two weeks.

There may well be commercial advantages to attracting thousands more international and interstate visitors to Tomaree National Park but the local Port Stephens community has a right to know all about it first and to veto ideas like setting up coffee carts along the way to add to the litter in the park and on the beaches. All residents should check out both the Plan Amendment and the Walkway Strategy for themselves.

Lee Smith, Fishermans Bay

CUTE IDEA: Jesse Anderson thinks koala sculptures, like those featured in Port Macquarie, would be a good addition to Port Stephens.

CUTE IDEA: Jesse Anderson thinks koala sculptures, like those featured in Port Macquarie, would be a good addition to Port Stephens.

Time to serve community

The Examiner reminds Port Stephens ratepayers that local government elections are less than 12 months away following a short three-year electoral cycle following council amalgamation delays.

Community members, good communicators, who are well-educated and care about the community should consider running and seek support urgently for the admirable role as a publicly elected council representative.

Contrary to public perception councillors are poorly remunerated for time and effort, receiving a stipend not a salary, there is no super contribution, expenses are limited and capped. It's difficult to convince ratepayers to nominate when campaign costs are high and deductions are limited, these financial negatives preclude younger, time - poor people and full-time employees from standing. It's not easy to get your positive messages out to the voters without a team of supporters or a substantial advertising budget first time round and there are genuine fears the political attack dogs will attempt to sully your reputation with vexatious propaganda printed on un-registered leaflets delivered across the electorate, a feature of the last election.

Candidates should not have to be concerned about being targeted by individuals who mistakenly believe successful council membership is all about control and less about contribution.

In 2017, all elected Councillors ran on an independent ticket with the exception of Labor councillor Giacomo Arnott. He has demonstrated a strong sense of community and support for the ratepayers. The time is right for candidates in 2020 to demonstrate their political allegiances and be focused on community. The best councils in the Hunter are where councillors do not always agree but work collectively for the greater good.

It's all about doing what's best for your community, recognising you can never satisfy everyone. Ensuring council is transparent and management is accountable should be the goal of every elected councillor.

Former councillor Geoff Dingle, Medowie

Koala art appealing

I recently did a trip to Port Macquarie and was totally impressed with the koala sculptures positioned all over town.

As Nelson Bay prides itself on its koala population, as well as whales, I am surprised that we have not done anything like this ourselves.

It would be great if our council could engage in a project like the Hello Koala Sculptures in Port Macquarie. The website to have a look the concept is hellokoalas.com.

Jesse Anderson, Anna Bay