Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: July 23

Bay at risk of losing its charm

Allow me to kill two birds, so to speak, regarding the Nelson Bay town centre parking issue and the building heights issue.

DRAW CARD: Phil Souness is concerned changes to height restrictions and parking will see Nelson Bay lose it's charm to visitors.

DRAW CARD: Phil Souness is concerned changes to height restrictions and parking will see Nelson Bay lose it's charm to visitors.

I run a holiday-home rental business. For several years we have asked guests to fill out a questionnaire at the end of their stay.

One of the questions is; What was your first impression of Nelson Bay? The most common answer is 'charming'.

Being charming is a very desirable asset for a holiday destination - it's why people come here in the first place and, more importantly, it's why people come back.

If dense high-rise is permitted, the town will no longer be charming. We will have eroded our primary source of income and dramatically increased the region's unemployment.

Now to the town parking meters. For the reasons others have already articulated, it's a very bad idea.

Holiday makers from cities are coming with the hope of finding a charming seaside village. They seek to escaping the complications of city life, like parking metres.

So I suggest making the town-centre parking free, but having a limit of two hours. .

Phil Souness, Nelson Bay

No need for moratorium

At a meeting of Port Stephens Council on March 10, the council voted in favour of a moratorium on the need to obtain pre-approval for the removal of trees in urban areas.

This will require an amendment to the Development Control Plan (DCP) and will allow unqualified persons to determine whether or not a tree is considered an immediate or direct threat to human life or property.

The moratorium, intended to last for 12 months, would effectively suspend the controls over removal of mature trees by private landowners and the judgement of whether a tree is dangerous, would be entirely on the say so of landowners with little or no experience in environmental science.

It is of concern that landholders may neglect to provide the council the required evidence that a tree posed a threat of immediate failure, a risk to human life or property or was dying or dead and not required as habitat for native animals. In my opinion, the need for such a moratorium is in question and cannot be justified.

There is no substantial evidence of any major emergency, such as a super storm or uncontrollable bush fires in Port Stephens, which would suddenly trigger the need for a 12 month suspension to the current regulations/requirements.

The overriding issue is that trees are essential for our wellbeing and protections need to be in place to see that this is acknowledged. The wording of the Draft Amendments are not clear and there is a risk of removal of trees for inappropriate reasons. Surely, in this time of crisis, this is not the time to be allowing ';self certification' for the removal of trees that are scientifically proved to absorb carbon.

If you feel strongly about the proposed Draft Amendment to the Port Stephens DCP - B1 Tree Management, submissions to Port Stephens Council should be addressed to: council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au and headed Draft Amendment to Port Stephens Development Control Plan - B1 Tree Management PSC2019-05565.

Jean Armstrong, Soldiers Point

Sanctuary zones have support

Why do fishermen think they are the only ones with rights, particularly when it comes to marine parks?

Why is my right to see fish when I snorkel in a sanctuary zone of the marine park somehow not as valid?

A very small percentage, 17 per cent, is currently zoned as sanctuary in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park.

The population of humans on the planet is not decreasing. This means there will be more pressure put on our precious marine resources as time goes on.

Unless we preserve some areas for fish to have 'sanctuary' and grow to breeding age and size, then there will be no fish in the future.

Jeannie Lawson, Tanilba Bay