Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: July 2

Unbalanced approach to closure

How very sad to see the closure of Balance gym in the West's Diggers club, Nelson Bay.

Considering the population of the area, many of us are going to miss, to our detriment, the social, mental and physical stimulus that this facility offered to both young and old.

NOT HAPPY: Wests Group members are disappointed Balance Nelson Bay has closed. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NOT HAPPY: Wests Group members are disappointed Balance Nelson Bay has closed. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The classes suited the range of ages in this community and when you consider the number of elderly that attended, this will have a very negative flow on effect. Where this club sits in the community, I do not know.

But given the facilities that it boasts to the community, why would such a healthy one no longer be worthy of us?

Why could the members and broader community not be consulted on this to see if this could have been resolved to the benefit of our health?

Andrew Higley, Fingal Bay

Merit in degree proposal

With due respect to Geoff Washington (letters, Examiner, June 25), I look at the government's proposal to vary university fees in a different light.

When I attended University in Sydney in the 1960s, there was an acute shortage of qualified engineers in Australia.

So the government of day provided scholarships for engineering students to encourage more intake to engineering courses. It took four years to produce a graduate engineer, and another three years, a qualified engineer, a total of seven years.

So the government started recruiting qualified engineers from the UK and Europe, offering them assisted passages to Australia for them and their families.

Many came and helped to build the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Scheme, and other infrastructure in cities and towns. My point is the purpose of the variation of university fees proposed, is akin to scholarships and assisted passages, to encourage more intake to courses that will assist the recovery effort from the COVID-19 Pandemic. I won't suggest recruiting professionals from overseas in the middle of a pandemic.

Let's encourage and assist our able young men and women that we need for the recovery effort. My lifetime observation is that students of humanities subjects are quite able to change and do STEM courses, and vice versa.

A highly qualified engineer, whom I knew, was an accomplished concert pianist, and the brilliant Einstein was an accomplished violinist.

Ernest To, Medowie

Just get on with bypass

The roadworks on Shoal Bay Road over the past fortnight have shown the need for a bypass road for Fingal Bay and Shoal Bay.

While the work is essential and appreciated, it shows that in the event of an emergency traffic can be brought to a standstill and the passengers, often elderly, would not survive long delays [in the event of a catastrophic bushfire].

Just get on with the Fingal bypass, the cost will be a small portion of the State's roads budget.

Gerry Mohan, Shoal Bay

Time to nurture nature

In response to John 'Stinker' Clarke's Something Fishy column, I have all of Stinker's books and love the old photos of huge hauls of snapper off Broughton Island and stories of lobsters too numerous to sell.

I've scuba-dived Fly Point many times, and to see those fish and cold water corals in their complex gardens, is a wonder.

I read of grey nurse numbers dangerously low, many with fish hooks along their jaw-line, very low birth-rate; listed as critically endangered. We need to secure, or even increase these protected areas. The bream, mullet and many others, migrate up and down the coast every season to breed. Stinker gave us a glimpse of the "old days" - of what has passed, but surely we should strive to turn the tide back in that direction, not further erode what little is left.

I walk Zenith Beach twice a week - with just the waves, often dolphins or even occasional shark. An unspoiled Sanctuary reserve - surely we can nurture nature this little bit.

Richard Fox, Shoal Bay

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