Letters – November 2018
THE BEST BLOKE WE HAVE EVER KNOWN
It was sad to hear that Bronte’s most recognisable icon, John ‘Meggs’ Maguire, passed away suddenly on September 25, 2018. Every person in Bronte both past and present knows our dad, because he would go right out of his way to welcome people to his beach and make them feel at home.
John Maguire touched so many lives with his sincerity, his dry humour, his dedication, his willingness to help and his ‘get out there and really have a dig’ attitude.
Dad was always at the top of his game at everything – the Bronte Surf Club, the NSW Fire Brigade, his exceptional sporting life.
Dad had three true loves in his life: his family, his Bronte community and, most of all, our mum, Jan Ball.
Mum and Dad were together for over 50 years and they were an unrivalled team. Dad lost his bride five years ago and he was never the same afterwards. But the courage Dad displayed as he soldiered on solo was remarkable and so inspiring for all of us. He never really moved on, but he did his best.
John Maguire will be sadly missed as displayed by the sup- port and respect shown at his farewell at Bronte Surf Club.
Our Dad and Pa. The best bloke we have ever known.
Thank you from the Maguire family.
LIGHT RAIL, LIGHT SLEEPER
We are all now too aware of the light rail and its impact on us as a community. What most readers maybe aren’t aware of is that those of us who live in the close vicinity of the hospital have had most of the light rail works done at night-time.
In the evening the workers shift will start at 7pm, but work will not actually commence until around 9pm. This late start is all due to Roads and Maritime Services not giving them access to the roads – as I am being continually reminded by Acciona community liaison staff.
Extreme noise works, such as concrete cutting, are meant to cease before midnight, whereas the smoothing out of asphalt, welding and the high pressure water blasting can continue until any such time, say around 3.30am. These relentless, extremely loud works have been ongoing on a nightly basis for over one year. The entire apartment block shakes and we go to bed wearing earplugs, including my children. Someone was ‘kind enough’ to deliver several bags of earplugs to the residents’ post boxes!
Over the last couple of years sleep deprivation, dirt, dust and limited access to our property has been the norm for our young family. For instance, the other evening the workers were using a massive angle grinder that required two strong labourers to shift the machine between the tracks, and this work was being done from 2.30am until around 3.30am. Other smaller angle grinders were also used until the early hours of the morning.
What is beyond me is why these works are not done during the day on Saturdays or Sundays when High Street is so quiet you can liter- ally walk the length and not see a single car. Last weekend, being the long weekend, no work was done on High Street and yet it all started back up again on the Monday evening!
The work that is being done at night is all being controlled by the Department of Roads and Maritime Services, which sets the agenda for when a road can or can’t be closed for works. I have repeatedly asked for works to be done during a Saturday or a Sunday so my family can have – for the first time in over two years – a simple night’s rest. I am constantly reminded that we have lodged a request with the RMS!
The effects of sleep deprivation, broken sleep and dirty air are beyond measure. This absurdity of doing such loud work at night and nothing of a weekend daytime needs to cease immediately.
DISINGENUOUS AND WILDLY INACCURATE ASSERTIONS
Dear Editor – I would like to correct a false statement made about the State Transit Authority in the article ‘Wheels Stop Turning for Local Bus Services’ that featured in your magazine’s October edition.
The assertion that State Transit is advocating for its areas of operation to be privatised is disingenuous and wildly inaccurate.
The decision to privatise bus contracts is not a decision for State Transit.
State Transit employs approximately 3,500 people who are committed to delivering a safe and reliable bus service across Sydney.
After listening to the community we recently announced network changes in the Eastern Suburbs to enhance the service we are delivering for locals and visitors to our area. The changes include the region’s first timetable-less bus, the 333 Bondi Link, which has added extra capacity and is helping customers get around more frequently. We will continue to listen and look at other improvements.
State Transit is the NSW Government-owned bus operator that has a proud history of delivering bus services for local communities over the last 85 years and we plan to do so well into the future.
State Transit Authority CEO
On August 27, we received in the mail notification from TPG that they intend to install a Phone Base Station on 355 Clovelly Road, Clovelly, which they intend to commence by the end of September.
We believe that TPG has intentionally sent this letter out to the residents in an envelope which resembles ‘junk mail’ so that the majority of residents would have thrown it in the rubbish and, thus, would not be aware of what TPG is intending to do.
Our greatest concern is the 24- hour radiation that will be emitting from the base station, which poses a major hazardous risk to our health, the community and especially the children of Clovelly. Yes, mobile phones emit radiation, but we don’t have them glued beside our brains 24-hours a day!
We are going to be exposed to radiation that causes brain tumours, hormonal changes, oxidative stress, fatigue, headaches, nausea – to
only name a few – and all because TPG wants to make money. They don’t care about our exposure to the radiation!
TPG, in their letter, has indicated there is no mobile base station for this area, but they have failed to acknowledge and take into account the clearly visible array of mobile antennas on the rooftop of the Coogee Prime Lodge, which is merely 80 metres from their proposed base station.
TPG has failed to take into account the EME (electromagnetic energy) radiation levels that are already emitting from the Coogee Prime Lodge, which would increase their EME levels of 3.72% significantly higher for those people whom live within 500 metres of their proposed base station.
Are we all going to sit around and in 20-30 years realise that this is another James Hardy asbestos scandal?
As a permanent resident of Flood Street, I strongly oppose the TPG proposal and I intend to make the local community aware of the radiation exposure that TPG proposes to subject the residents of Clovelly to.
I am requesting that as our local community news distributor that you could put this story out to make the community aware of what is happening in our suburbs.
It is outrageous that TPG can make their own assessment (no independent assessment is undertaken) as to what is low impact and where they install their mobile phone base stations within the community, because it’s based on 1997 legislation in which they don’t require council approval.
I hope you can assist Clovelly and other suburbs with this urgent matter.
SAY ‘NO’ TO TPG MOBILE TOWERS
Dear Editor – Say ‘No’ to TPG mobile towers in our children’s backyards!
An unwelcome permanent neighbour is due to invade Dundas Street in Coogee. Residents are grappling with the idea of living next to a mini mobile tower, exposing them and their loved ones to constant Electro-magnetic Radiation (EMR) as they eat, sleep and try to enjoy the quiet contentment of being home, which is a basic human right.
Although the telcos publi- cise the research stating no link between EMR and human harm, there is ongoing research into the potentially harmful effects of EMR, because although the current research reports no link, scientific and medical agencies including the World Health Organisation advise that ongoing research is needed, and the actual long-term effects remain unknown. The results will take 15 years or more, but unfortunately it will be too late for our children by then. What is known about EMR is that there is a higher risk of harm with constant exposure, which the pole next door to your house will be directing at you. Children are more at risk due to their developing nervous systems and tissues. The effect on pre-existing chronic diseases in the young is unknown.
The residents of Dundas Street include many young children, some with chronic diseases, and many vulnerable elderly people.
This nightmare will soon become a reality for many residential streets in the Eastern Suburbs. State legislation allows major telcos such as TPG free rein to install these ‘junkyards on a pole’ without any planning permission. The 28-day public consultation process, which is supposed to precede the installation work, is often kept hazy and poorly publicised by the telco, so they can slyly erect the installation and swiftly move on to the next one before residents know what has happened. What makes this process even more farcical is that the outcome of the public consultation submission is decided by the telco, which is a major conflict of interest. They are hardly going to say ‘no’ to themselves!
The public are kept in the dark about how their street was chosen and whether alternative industrial or commercial sites were considered. This is self-regulation at its worst! In the case of Dundas Street, TPG gave no indication of due diligence in their choice of the site, a purely residential street adjoining a children’s playground and nature reserve. A simple desktop search in a city office and the Google pin marks the spot!
They provided no visibility of what was done to look for other less residential sites in the area. TPG even flagrantly flouted the state planning code and started work on the installation, attachingcabling and a box to the light pole on Dundas Street on the 6/9/18, a staggering 18 days before the public/council submission deadline of 25/9/18. The code clearly states no work can be undertaken before the deadline. This proves their ethos that protecting the vulnerable is of no significance and ‘it’s going to happen no matter what’. Fostering public trust is at the bottom of their agenda!
Home should be our safe place. This is about to change with the cavalier, ‘bull in a china shop’ attitude of global telcos such as TPG, which appear to pay lip service to the public consultation process but in reality already know they will take no action in the public interest – a case of ‘speak to the hand because the face isn’t listening’!
It’s up to us to campaign for our vulnerable children and the elderly, who have no voice.
This could be your street, next. This could be your house with the installation metres from your child’s bedroom or backyard. Help send a clear message to TPG and other telcos that residents will not be bullied into having the quiet enjoyment of their homes destroyed and live in fear of the potential harmful effects of EMR.
If we cannot stop installations in residential streets like Dundas Street and force telcos to work harder at finding less sensitive sites, this could affect your home next.
Don’t sit still, mobilise (pun intended) yourself and be vocal in your support. As a collective we can send a clear message to the telcos, local council and politicians, forcing a change to the current woeful legislation and processes.
Time is of the essence. Help raise awareness of this issue.
Financial gain and a voracious appetite for mobile connectivity should not be at the expense of the public health of future generations!
EASTERN SUBURBS RECYCLING ENTREPRENEURS
Is it just me or has anyone else spot- ted the ‘gentlemen’ raking through the recycle bins for the precious 10-cent items held within?
I can’t make my mind up as to whether I should applaud their actions or tell them to piss off !
Dear Angie from Another Planet (Letters, The Beast, September 2018) – I am pleased that others around you put guilt on you for your choice not to vaccinate. Because, unlike the decision you make about what food you buy and consume, the decision not to vaccinate can have dire consequences not only for your health, but also for the health of others you come in contact with. You can liken the harassment of anti-vaxxers to harassing those who drink drive. Both groups increase the risk of illness/injury and death not only to themselves, but also to other community members.
As for the points you raise, yes, good personal hygiene and public sanitation are important – not just to reduce the diseases you mention in your article, but many others as well. And indeed, polio and typhoid are not major issues in Australia, in large thanks to vaccines. But travel to less developed countries with fewer sanitation and health resources and it’s a very different story. Finally, death may be an extremely rare side effect of the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, but individuals who have contracted these disorders may also die, or if pregnant the infections may cause death to their baby.
If you choose not to have your son or daughter vaccinated for HPV before they become sexually active, I do hope that their partners are vaccinated and not infected. Otherwise, there is a high chance your children will become infected with HPV, and in turn then pass it on to any subsequent sexual partners. HPV infection is the cause of 70 per cent of cervical cancer, and in addition it is a key contributor to penile, vulvar, vaginal, anal, mouth and throat cancers. In Australia in 2018, 930 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and 258 women died as a consequence of their cervical cancer. As the lag time between HPV infection and cancer development is typically 20 years, we are yet to see the major benefit of the HPV vaccine given to kids in early adolescence. The risks associated with the HPV vaccine are minimal. Of 720,000 HPV vaccinations administered in the USA between 2009 and 2017, there were 245 reported adverse events, of which 10 were deemed serious. There were no deaths.
The point is, achieving a high rate of immunity in a population protects not only the individuals who receive the vaccines, but also stops them being carriers and infecting those who for valid reasons cannot be immunised. A virus must find an unvaccinated person to infect or it will die out. Don’t be that person!
I’ll stop harassing you now, Angie. Just one last thing, though – if you don’t like the public health policy written by experts in the field and with the good of the community in mind, why don’t you just stay on that ‘Other Planet’?
ROCK FISHING LAWS A FAILURE
I, like a number of other dedicated volunteers, have worked with government agencies to produce videos and multi-language information packs advising on safe fishing. Our rock fishing production, ‘Don’t put your life on the line’, can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=4O-yKhyZJrw. I’m in this production, as are my colleagues. The video provides all you need to know about safe rock fishing.
Recently, the government legislated over our advice with a blunt, one-glove-fits-all, ill informed and incomplete piece of legislation, being: “Wear a lifejacket rock fishing or be fined $100.”This makes no mention of wearing correct footwear on the rocks, which is 50 per cent of the safety equipment, and makes no mention of the fact that you cannot dive under waves with a lifejacket on. We simply want this legislation modified to match the advice given in our video, which was produced with government money, and lots of it.
We want the above law amended to: “Rock fishers must wear either a lifejacket, a life vest or a wetsuit and appropriate footwear, being rock cleats or rock spikes on sandstone and slippery rocks or lightweight stout-soled boots on granite.”
Further, this is being run by the Justice Department, which has, with the aid of Randwick City Council, installed a few signs at fishing spots stating the new legislation. It beggars belief that they did not contact Fisheries and get the e-mails of all anglers in NSW and e-mail them this information – a complete lack of government department cooperation.
An additional part of the message needs to be to join a fishing club, so that those who are inexperienced can get proper advice face to face.
We now have two rock fishers dead with lifejackets on, one at Windang Island and the other at Cape Banks, so it’s a failed law. Rock fishing deaths comprised four per cent of drownings as per the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2018. So why all the wasted money on a failed law?
MARINE PARK PROPOSAL PREPOSTEROUS
I am a 49 year-old Sydney resident who has been a participant of recreational fishing and water sports since early childhood, growing up on Kogarah Bay and residing in Bondi for the last 25 years.
I am writing to address my concerns regarding the proposed marine parks and impact this will have on many Australian lives as well as the fabric of Australian culture.
To begin with, the plan is ill conceived and flawed on many fronts. The scientific reasoning does not exist. Recreational fishing has negligible effect on marine life. There are many more pressing matters affecting marine conservation in need of attention, namely storm water runoff, sewerage outfalls, shark nets and commercial fishing.
The replacement of shark nets with smart drum lines, which directly target the threat to swimmers rather than the indiscriminate taking of marine life that nets cause, would provide a much better outcome than marine lockouts.
Preventing recreational fishing in these areas has many other negative consequences that will lead to concentrated fishing as a result of fewer locations to fish from and the endangerment of lives.
There are established rock platforms that are easily accessible within the zones. Shutting anglers out will force anglers to fish unsafe areas.
In addition, for most recreational anglers fishing five kilometres offshore in small craft will create many challenging circumstances, which could have dire consequences.
Aside from these most obvious concerns, there exists the damage to lifestyle and way of life that is ingrained in the fabric of Australian culture.
Fishing is one of Australia’s great pastimes, providing many people with a release and connection to the wilds of our coastline. Connecting with the ‘Great Outdoors’ is our major tourist attraction; our cultural image abroad is based on this perception and is what makes Australia’s cultural image attractive abroad. Loss of these civil liberties and the dilution of Australia’s cultural image is counterproductive.
Sydney has already suffered greatly from overdevelopment, increased populations in areas with insufficient infrastructure and the reduction of the general quality of life Australians used to enjoy. Depriving people of one of our favourite pastimes with an unsubstantiated claim is unjust.
Anglers and watersports people like myself and others are on and under the water on a daily and weekly basis. We are the ones that need to be consulted on matters of conservation, as we are the ones on the ground experiencing, collecting and possessing the knowledge.
The combined knowledge of my fishing club alone goes back generations. In 25 years, I can’t remember ever witnessing a research scientific vessel off the shoreline conducting research. Anglers and water sports people possess a visual reckoning and understanding of our coastline. Angling is a science and most anglers would be able to describe in detail migratory patterns and fish stock availability. This is how we conserve and enjoy the ocean’s resources by understanding them.
Removing this cultural passage will create a lack of understanding and interest in preserving our coastline.
Angling has undergone major reform, led by anglers themselves. Most, if not all, practice catch and release, taking only what is needed for a feed. Compare this to the environmental damage of travelling from Bondi to the Glebe fish markets to purchase a commercially caught snapper.
Fishing reform is reflected in every fishing show screened. You will be hard pressed to find a show on fishing that does not press for conservation through catch and release and general discussion. The days of filling your freezer with fish are gone, not because of reduced fish stocks but because anglers now practice conservative fishing methods.
If the government is serious about conservation, then address the more pressing issues and do not prevent people from engaging with the marine environment through angling, as you will lose your best supporters of conservation, the sup- port from people whose interest it is to protect it.
Heed their knowledge, heed their advice and protect culture, which self-educates people to be conservationists through participation.
FURIOUS FISHOS DEMAND ACCESS
In recent times, South Maroubra headland has in part been given back to the National Parks people. They have begun installing a walk- way all around the headland, at a significant cost. They also removed all the fishing access at South Maroubra and North Malabar (ladders, etc.).
Sadly, this now limits our access to Angel Rings (more information on these can be seen here – http://angelrings.com.au/) in these locations and makes access for the fishing public very high risk. While this investment all sounds good, the walkway is on the outer perimeter of the rifle range, which is on the headland. The walkway is closed when the rifle range is operating and it now seems that the shooters will use this on numerous days per week and on the weekends when the walkway would be in peak use as well.
So the government has spent bucket loads of money on a walkway that is unusable when shooting is taking place. If they build a safety wall inside the walkway this would fix the problem. The whole site needs a plan of management and the fishing access needs to be restored.In closing, we pay a fishing fee each year and feel that fishing infrastructure should be provided as part of that fee.
TURNBULL ALL SMOKE AND TAXES
It seems very petty that Malcolm has pulled out so close to the next election. Stomping his feet and taking his toys with him.
I had high hopes when Malcolm took over the prime ministership, but we got an early indication of what he would be like when he backed down on hard structural budget reform like the GST. Instead he took the path of least resistance by copying Labor’s policy of raising the cost of cigarettes to extraordinary amounts in order to fill holes in the budget.
Pretty much anyone who is left smoking is either wealthy or has an addiction and/or mental health issues – the vulnerable in our society punitively bled dry with excessive excise rates. It’s Pablo Escobar economics profiting off a deadly addictive drug.
Smokers cost the community $320 million each year in bushfire and health costs, but the excise they pay raises $8 billion. It’s ethically questionable to raise such a large amount off tobacco, but for Malcolm Turnbull it was just another example of putting his own popularity before the people of this country.
TWO THUMBS DOWN
Hey Beasties – As always, love your mag! Couple of things I am wondering if you could ponder about…
1) Sydney International Airport – thumbs down if you ask me… the security is so not user friendly. Apparently the security has been outsourced to an overseas company (so I heard from one of the security guys there), they do not have water refill stations like a number of airports do, but you can buy, buy, buy once you get through security.
2) Thumbs down to the Bondi Junction Markets on Wed/Thurs/ Fri… they used to be so vibrant and growing but it feels the opposite lately. I have heard rumour that they lost their coordinator and are managing themselves – all I know is that the quantity and therefore quality of the market days has gone downhill over the last six months.
Not sure how you can best use this, or even if you want to, but thought I would share.
Keep up the good work.
Dear Beast Team – Thanks for putting out this awesome mag. I look forward to reading it and Beardy’s horoscopes give me a laugh out loud every time.
I wanted to add my support to the ‘Noisy Nincompoops’ letter from the last issue (Letters, The Beast, October 2018).
As a resident who lives close to Old South Head Road, I am continually frustrated by the amount of noisy motorbikes that are around. You can hear some of these things from way down the road and keep hearing them when they are miles away. It’s not just the idiots that remove the silencing mechanism either; it’s also the trend towards vintage motorbikes, which seem to be deliberately loud.
As Bondi and other suburbs in Sydney become increasingly developed, more poor suckers like me are going to have to live near busy roads. I think we can all agree that buses are justified for the public good, but individual posers hooning around are just selfish – why should thousands of others have to suffer? I wrote to Gabrielle Upton some time ago on this issue and her response was a classic pass the buck, vaguely detailing how the EPA, council rangers and the police are responsible for fining noisy vehicles. While this may be the case, I have never heard of or seen a noisy bike (or car) get pulled up, nor have I seen any evidence of the aforementioned authorities actively monitoring the issue.
Isn’t it time we showed these hoons who like to cruise Bondi showing off their muscle bikes and cars that this isn’t cool? I’d really like a response from the council on this printed in the mag for all to see. Thanks and keep up the good work.