The Beast’s Monthly Mailbag
Nunn the Wiser
Dear James – Thank you for trying – you gave it a good shot – but, lo and behold, Dave Sharma was all over you and all over your pseudo hidden left-wing social and political agendas.
While I applaud The Beast’s ability to lean ever so slightly to the centre by even interviewing him, the true applause belongs to Dave Sharma MP.
What a classy act, not only in literature but also in person. In my view, he’s the new age modern politician; approachable, fair, realistic and, most importantly, working to represent the Australians in his electorate.
For Zak of Bondi to suggest that James Hutton’s questions to our federal member Dave Sharma in February’s edition of The Beast were inspired by ISIS and that Hutton is therefore somehow guilty of propagating “anti-Semitic rants and raves” is both ludicrous and offensive.
It would have been much weirder if he had conducted an extensive interview with Sharma without covering the Israel/Palestine question, given that Sharma’s most high profile role to date was as Australia’s ambassador to Israel (and this obviously played a huge role in his being chosen to run for Wentworth).
Israel clearly has a case to answer (one only has to Google “Disappearing Palestine” to glimpse the extent of Palestinian dispossession) and Hutton is to be commended for asking the hard questions (even if the answers were predictably anodyne and disappointing).
Zak, take a deep breath and save your accusations of anti-Semitism for those who really deserve it.
As an ex-Waverlian myself I couldn’t be prouder of our Scotty Cam, who managed to score an ambassadorial position when thousands of job-seekers are failing miserably at getting a job (Every Waverley College Student Guaranteed a Successful Career, The Beast, March 2020).
Great to see Scott setting the right example too by participating in an open recruitment process to ensure the most qualified person was hired.
We are visitors from Manchester just coming to the end of a stay with family in Clovelly. We really enjoyed reading The Beast and will be taking it back home to England with us to show our family and friends.
Throughout the two months we have been here we have been using your wonderful buses to get around. We really appreciate their punctuality, frequency, cleanliness and good value and love the friendly atmosphere on board.
We were prompted to write to you after seeing the stickers and other publicity about the possible privatisation of buses. Our buses are in private hands at present, though our mayor and many other citizens are trying to reverse this.
The buses we have back home are dirty, infrequent, often late or cancelled and very expensive. It costs the equivalent of five dollars as a minimum fare, so of course people without a concession don’t use them and buses are used mainly by pensioners who travel for free with the cost reclaimed from their local authority.
Things were not perfect before privatisation, but the fares went into providing frequent, reliable and affordable services which were regarded as a necessary part of the community infrastructure rather than as a money making opportunity. Now there are constant complaints and endless campaigns as services are reduced or eliminated entirely, with rural and suburban areas suffering most.
After recent ‘changes’ (reductions) in our own local bus service it is now often impossible for us to attend an evening event in our city without having to shell out for a taxi. Please Sydneysiders, don’t follow our example!
Jim and Pauline Howell
PS. We love Sydney of course. This is our sixth visit!
Big Business Development
Dear Editor – I write in response to your article about ‘big’ business development in Macpherson Street, Bronte. Why would a Woolworths Metro be better than small businesses?
Jon, the school teacher quoted in your recent article (Community vs Convenience? Locals Differ Over Woolies Plan, The Beast, April 2020), who may or may not live locally, could get a decent lunch at any one of six or more small businesses in the village. Also, there is a certain production line sameness about Woolworths. Variety is more interesting; it is vital that our village shops stay in business. These include two pharmacies, a butcher, two mixed businesses, a bakery and a green-grocer. They would be wiped out if the Woolworth Metro arrives. It is simply not needed in Bronte, and there is already a supermarket in nearby Charing Cross that has an enormous range.
Parking is already a huge problem, and the thought of the delivery trucks makes the blood run cold, specially if you are a parent or childminder.
Last but not least, the Bronte shops are an essential part of the village; they are community assets. Thanks to Mahmood Assad and the other local shopkeepers. They serve many people who use the bus, their bikes and their legs, and those who, when the ‘CVirus’ is dead and gone, will once again drink coffee and drink in our nice village atmosphere. We need to keep it this way.
Jenny De Mole
Dear Beast – A Woolworths Metro will detract from our community. A Woolworths Metro is not a supermarket, it’s a food store and café, selling ready-made meals, newspapers and stationery, pharmacy items, flowers and more.
Traffic and parking are major problems here in Bronte. Most days I see vehicles parked in one of the bus zones, parked across private driveways or even double parked. Just this morning a bus could not proceed along Macpherson Street, as a delivery van was parked in the bus zone. The traffic was banked back a couple of blocks. Woolworths does not belong in a neighbourhood centre.
Voter, taxpayer, ratepayer,
cook and bottle-washer
The Bronte Woolworths
The proposed Woolworths shop at Bronte should be rejected as it is part of a broader problem of road and foot traffic congestion across Waverley. When seen alongside other major traffic shocks such as Easts Leagues’ redevelopment of Waverley Bowling Club it becomes apparent that large corporates and government are wresting planning control from the local citizens and Waverley Council.
For example, the Easts redevelopment, having been emphatically rejected at an AGM by local citizens, was only made possible the second time round because Easts did a deal with outside groups from beyond the council area (Woy Woy, for example) to vote for it. The local citizens were again decidedly against the Easts proposal but were outnumbered by the voting blocks from outside Waverley.
The local people are mostly against the Woolworths proposal due to the compounding impact of it and other similar moves that increase congestion and diminish local identity, as well as reducing the safety of pedestrians. The proposal should be stopped or a local referendum held to decide the matter. The corporates and developers are taking over and destroying Bronte, and the Land and Environment Court is working with them. Citizens should oppose this unholy alliance before it is too late!
Woolworths Adds Nothing
Woolworths Metro will add nothing to our community! We are well serviced by both the Friendly Store, Bronte Convenience Store and QE Supermarkets. The larger Coles, Woolies and Aldi are only 15 minutes by bus or car.
On most days, home delivery trucks are in our street (from Woolies and Coles). When I want a quick and nutritious lunch I get the Persian egg salad at Cali Press or one of the many delicious salads at The Char. A fresh bread roll from the Friendly Store or Iggys and I am set. Dinner, if it’s a non-cooking night, is a delicious meal from The Char or Eugene’s. Pilgrims will be opening soon and I can say from recent experience at Cronulla that the food is fantastic!
I was surprised that Jon, the teacher at a local school who was quoted in your article, does not go to any of the local shops. Let me just say Jon, you are missing out on really good food. There is nothing special about the snacks and pre-packaged salads from a Metro store.
Dear James – Congratulations on the sterling job you are doing. The Beast is going from strength to strength and I look forward to its arrival into my letterbox each month.
Your brother Dan would be proud of you. Keep going as we need The Beast more than ever in this time of isolation and uncertainty.
Beach Crowd Flouting Social Distancing
To all the self-absorbed, entitled, selfish, heartless and witless individuals who decided to indulge themselves at the beach despite calls for social distancing: congratulations! You’ve now, in no small measure, accomplished the following things in your useless lives:
1. You’re highly likely to have contributed to the eventual placement of some people in an intensive care unit, and possibly to their death. But you wouldn’t care because you probably won’t know them.
2. You’ve expedited the New South Wales closure of non-essential services.
3. You’ve prematurely assisted in the unemployment of countless people due to these closures. But then again you would only care if it was you.
So much for the supposedly socially sensitive individuals who are ever so self-congratulatory at their concern about political incorrectness and social exclusivity yet so insensitive to the critical well-being of others. Your past generations, who sacrificed comfort for the greater good, would be ashamed of your weakness and indifference.
To Duncan Horscroft – On behalf of the Bondi Longboard Club, we are very sorry to hear of Bruce Hockey’s passing. He was a supporter of our club. Please pass on our condolences and best wishes to his family and friends.
Secretary, Bondi Longboard Club
Corona and Panic Buying
Originally, I thought I would get a revolution and free love. Instead, I got the closure of Coogee Beach, a home office and the panic buying of toilet paper.
What people stock up on is instructive. Australians buy sanitiser and toilet paper, Americans buy guns and the French buy red wine and condoms. When it comes to Corona and panic buying, one might follow the Terminator; Arnold Schwarzenegger recommends, “Wash your hands, stay home, and don’t believe the idiots,” who inspire panic buying.
Red wine drinking inner-Coogee lefty
With the sections of the new CBD and South East Light Rail now open, the question remains: has it been a worthwhile project and a good use of taxpayers’ money?
Since the 2012 announcement that a new light rail would be built, the project has been surrounded by controversy. Initially due for completion in March of last year, the first part was eventually opened in December 2019 and the final part was expected to open in March 2020, a full year late.
Along with its seemingly endless delays, the project was hindered by a legal dispute between the state government and private contractor Acciona, resulting in a series of setbacks to construction and an eventual settlement of over $500 million. The legal issues of the construction only added to the series of other budgetary infringements that led to the total cost coming to $2.9 billion – almost double its $1.6 billion inital price tag. This sum of taxpayer money could have since been used in a variety of beneficial ways which could have had a positive impact on the local community and surrounding areas, as opposed to the ensuing negative effects of the light rail.
Another concern is the impact it has had on the local community, in particular small business. With an estimated 700-750 parking spots in Randwick alone removed to make room for construction, the effects have been profound. In an attempt to correct the economic disruption, the state government has issued $45.3 million in compensation to 199 affected small businesses, but these efforts have not been able to prevent the numerous small business closures that have occurred.
The environmental impacts of the project have been another significant concern since the announcement was made that, among other plans, a significant number of trees would be cut down along the Alison Road section of the route. The Moreton Bay figs that stood alongside Alison Road were over 100 years old and serve as only one example of the numerous detrimental impacts that the construction has had on the surrounding environment. Other examples of these crucial damages include a series of demolitions, removal of natural flora and fauna and the impacts of the construction through emissions and sound and vibration pollution.
Finally, the necessity of the light rail itself has been frequently called into question, mainly due to the fact that a more extensive tram system that followed a similar route used to exist, but it was removed in 1961. Additionally, the light rail has so far failed to keep up with the existing public transport options.
According to one passenger, Josh, who took the light rail on its opening day, “It took around 75 minutes to get to Circular Quay.” He has also ridden the same Randwick to Circular Quay route since, saying that it took around an hour and that the bus only took 20-25 minutes.
The Transport NSW website offers an estimation of “$3 billion in economic benefit for NSW”, meaning that if these expectations are met the project will barely clear the break-even point, at the cost of a number of small businesses, a myriad of environmental sacrifices, increased congestion and traffic interruptions over the last few years, and all that for a service that was not a necessity but rather a waste of valuable tax dollars which are so desperately needed in other areas, even more so now with the pandemic. The CBD and South East Light Rail has not been a worthwhile project.
A Vote of Thanks
Dear Editor – Please publish this letter below as so many people give help selflessly behind the scenes and no one gives them credit for it.
About six weeks ago I had a nasty fall in the car park entrance to Woolworths at Double Bay. I had fallen right onto my hip, and it transpired later that the femur was broken in three places. As I lay there, three ladies converged, offering help and water and orange juice. A Woolworths man in a yellow jacket helped to get me up while someone quickly brought a chair as I was unable to stand.
Then along came a very kind man in a Hatzolah vehicle. These people are emergency responders, fully trained in dealing with accidents and emergencies. He checked me over, took my vital statistics and, best of all, reassured me as I was feeling very shaky. He waited with me until the ambulance came and whisked me off to St Vincent’s Hospital. I had never come across these kind Samaritans before and would like to say thank you to him again for his time and patience.
A Sight for Sore Eyes in Illawong Avenue
Dear Beast – I’m referring to the incredibly ugly building that is currently being ‘renovated’ in Tamarama. You know the one I mean, a real eyesore from every angle. I would love to know how long this absolutely criminal level of noise coming from this address is going to continue.
This building should have been knocked down, in fact it should never have been built in the first place as it is the least aesthetic piece of architecture ever designed in the history of mankind.
Subjectivity aside, the noise caused by excavating a canyon the size of a quarry for what I believe will be an underground carpark, at a time when most people are now at home working or in self-isolation, is absolutely criminal!
No one should have to put up with it. It is adding to an increasingly stressful time for everyone and should be put on hold until the time comes when we can return to some semblance of normality.
I hope it falls and crumbles into the gully below, whilst managing to evacuate people in the vicinity beforehand. The Beast, is there some way of doing this that you know of?
Ronnie O’Sullivan – NOT
James – If you’re going to malign someone, you could at least get your facts straight (Snookered, The Beast, April 2020). The image printed above your dubious caption is not Ronnie O’Sullivan. Please check your facts.
The Beast is Right
A shout-out to the boys swimming the channel, but they are far too hench in the photo; The Beast is right – they need to pack on some lard. The channel is f*cking freezing, as anyone has who has suffered a ‘seaside’ holiday in the vicinity will testify. The chips at the kiosk are for rubbing on the tummy, not putting in it.
The Beast is wrong – that’s the late lamented Alex Higgins and, as any fule no, snooker is definitely a sport – an objective scoring system for a test of skill and character. In fact it’s the dictionary definition.
Thanks for all of your letters again this month, I still love receiving them after all these years. The feedback is always interesting and it helps us to make the magazine better for everyone. Apologies for mixing up my snooker world champions ●