Monthly Mailbag – September 2019
Why Are We a Society of Complainers?
It has saddened me to learn that an elderly man has had to get rid of his pet rooster as it made too much noise during the day.
The owner of this pet ensures his rooster is locked away in the house at night so that it won’t crow at first light and disturb his neighbours – I think this is very considerate!
After a failed attempt by neighbours to poison the bird by throwing Ratsak over the fence, he was informed by Council that a complaint had been made and he must get rid of his beloved pet. This man is in his eighties and is a long-standing member of the Clovelly community.
I grew up in this suburb and have lived here for 30 years. The community that it was back then is certainly not what it is today. People looked out for one another and they acknowledged, spoke with and supported each other.
Nowadays, a slight noise of nature and people complain, not to mention that the location of the complaint lies directly under a flight path and is on one of the busiest roads in Clovelly with plenty of buses, trucks and cars. Instead of complaining about that noise, which goes on for a good part of 18 hours a day, we feel compelled to complain about a man’s pet that may crow a few times a day.
I hope the complainers are now happy with hearing the man-made noises of progress. Maybe between the coming and going of flights on the east-west runway they will take a moment to think of the hurt and devastation they have caused this elderly member of the Clovelly ‘community’. I often wonder whether we still have a sense of community, or if it’s just everyone for themselves?
Formerly Fond Resident
Water Time to be Alive
Dear Editor – I read with interest Marjorie’s article on water conservation (Water Time to be Alive, The Beast, August 2019), however Marjorie neglected one major point: waste sewerage.
Sydney currently pumps millions of litres of sewerage water into our oceans every year. This could and should be redirected to both conserve water but also protect our oceans.
While building infrastructure to do this might not be very glamorous it certainly would be better than spending two billion dollars on a new football stadium that few Eastern Suburbs residents wanted and only a small percentage of Sydney’s population use.
A Prompt Response From Our Local Member
I certainly agree with John’s comment that we should be recognising the potential of recycling water from sewerage. There is so much more we should be doing to reduce both the waste going into our oceans and to ensure more efficient use of our precious water.
In Sydney we only recycle about 2.3 per cent of our water. Meanwhile, roughly 90 per cent of the wastewater generated in Israel is reused, making it the leading nation in water recycling. Spain recycles 20 per cent of its wastewater, making it the second largest nation for water reuse.
Water conservation and reuse can help us to survive drought and periods of water scarcity, and I’m not even talking about potable water here, just water for agriculture and the environment. It is clear that in New South Wales, and Australia more broadly, we have a long way to go, and it is critical that we start working towards achieving real long-term water sustainability.
As I hope all readers of The Beast would know by now, as much as I love my sport, I also agree with John’s comment that $2 billion spent on a new football stadium could have been much more wisely spent on improving our water usage and enhancing our environment.
Dr Marjorie O’Neill
State Member for Coogee
Why Does Council Waste Money on Herbicides?
Dear Editor – I am very disappointed by Waverley Council using herbicides on its land. It does not make any sense to me.
Economically, the council will be open for future economic loss because it did not take its duty of care for the workers that did the job – a job that did not need to be done in the first place. We know that:
• Weeds are becoming resistant to herbicides and the council will need to use stronger doses for it to continue killing.
• Workers do the spraying on days when it rains or it’s windy – days when it should not be done, but because the spraying was booked for that day it has to be done anyway.
• By spraying close to where natives are growing, they not only kill the weeds but also the natives that should be protected to provide food and shelter to our native wildlife.
• The empty containers and residual chemicals will add to the pollution of our natural environment.
We need council staff that care about our wellbeing instead of thinking they are saving time and money – they are not.
Community or Convenience?
Woolworths recently lodged a Development Application (DA) with Waverley Council to open a Woolworths Metro in the former Bronte RSL site on Macpherson Street, Bronte.
A Woolworths Metro is more like a cafe and takeaway than a traditional supermarket. Typically a Woolworths Metro sells fewer household items but concentrates on a cafe/takeaway/ready-made meals model. That means barista coffee and breakfast items, pre-packaged meals, juices and drinks, pastries and bread. They also retail meat and smallgoods, milk and dairy products, fruit and vegetables and packaged salads. Then there are stationery items, health and beauty and pharmacy goods, soft drinks and mixers and flowers. We understand they wish to be open daily from 7am to 10pm.
There are those in Bronte who will welcome what they perceive to be convenience and lower prices (although Woolies Metro is not actually that cheap), others are concerned at the thought of additional traffic and parking issues, and some people worry deeply about the effect of a giant Australian and New Zealand company with the buying power and brand to establish itself quickly as an alternative to the many small businesses that have created the truly unique character of our Bronte neighbourhood centre.
How will the butcher, baker, pharmacies, florist, newsagency, takeaways and cafes cope with the competition, let alone the existing general stores? Anecdotal evidence suggests that the QE Foodstores on Frenchman’s Road and in Charing Cross have already impacted some Bronte businesses quite significantly, and I won’t go into the eyesore on the Bronte Beach cafe strip that is the new neon-lit convenience store!
It’s no exaggeration to say this may truly be the end of the Bronte community as we know and love it. With the closure of small independent and small franchise businesses, more big franchises will move in. Pressure on developers and Council will increase and more multi-level buildings will appear.
Bronte residents should be worried and many of us are. We hope that people will take the time to let Council know of our concerns and request that they refuse this DA based on protecting our neighbourhood centre and our community. You don’t get to pass the time of day or feel connected to your neighbourhood when you swipe your plastic through a check-out machine. If we don’t act soon, that may be all we have left.
Reply to Tony King
Thank you to Tony King for his priceless memories of a childhood spent enjoying Bondi’s Thomas Hogan Reserve (Letters, The Beast, August 2019), in response to the article published in an earlier edition (A Hidden Delight… Schneider’s Gully, The Beast, June 2019).
Even now the reserve has its wilder corners. A few years ago some friends discreetly built a cubby house for their kids on the densely forested upper slopes (it was then promptly occupied by a homeless guy!). Waverley Council is currently taming the place somewhat and recently commissioned a heritage impact statement of the park, which appears on their website and has a lot of great historical information.
I suspect that it was known locally as Bob’s Gully after Albert Lee’s gardener, ‘Bobbs’. The Lee family owned the Glen Roona property on Penkivil Street and the reserve below from 1885 until the late 1930s. Mr Lee was evidently a rather stern Victorian patriarch, but also a keen amateur horticulturalist with a special interest in palms. Here’s a little snippet about Bobbs from Albert Lee’s grand-daughter Barbara Hamilton:
“Barbara Hamilton also mentions her grandfather’s interest in and collection of palms in this charming anecdote: One story that came down to me was that when they [her parents] were first married, Grannie Lee said to Bobbs the gardener to take a palm to mum and dad to decorate the entrance of their new house. When grandfather Lee arrived, he said ‘that’s my Gigliana Bobbs, take that home again at once’.”
I recently read in The Beast that it would be a good idea to build an elevated walkway above the sandstone in the Bronte Cutting (Locals Want Car Spots Back in Cutting, The Beast, May 2019).
I can’t agree – I think it would be a bad idea for a number of reasons. Firstly there are environmental and heritage issues. People seem to forget that the cutting is an important part of our local heritage. Secondly, such a walkway would violate the Disability Discrimination Act. It would be inaccessible to wheelchairs, the old and the infirm, not to mention prams and strollers.
But the biggest problem is the bleeding obvious – that no one will bother to use it. Most walkers and joggers will take the path of least resistance and continue to walk or jog up and down the cutting as they have always done. What would result is a very expensive white elephant at ratepayers’ expense.
I’m struggling to understand why our council is trying so hard to fix something that was never broken. Could it be that they read something (possibly in The Beast) that frightened them into this dubious course of action?
Who is Really Doing the wanking?
To James – Shame on you Beast. Once again, promoting your own form of discrimination and that of anyone who is anti-religious freedom.
It seems that religious freedom is allowed as long as the “God-botherers” teach their kids that the changed definition of marriage is okay, think that gender is a social construct that can be changed at will, believe that euthanasia laws protect one’s dignity and do not lead to an increase in ending life, and that the heart of a baby in the womb, which starts to beat at four weeks, is not life but just a bunch of cells.
My freedom to believe that which underpins my very existence as a human and the dignity I hold for it is under threat by you and all who believe that I am not allowed to have an opinion unless it is as far north as the moral compass can get. A wank indeed.
Perhaps I should get myself a flag and use some other Old Testament symbol of God’s promise on it (yes, the rainbow is from the bible) and wave it around because I am heterosexual. Oh, and why not make it the next national flag? For it seems that we are not far off from adding the rainbow to our official banners. You can have your opinion, marry who ever you want and be an ‘it’ for all I care, but don’t you dare force it on me or my children.
Finally, your throw away ‘thumbs down’ comment shows your ignorance to the fact that, as proven in a multitude of countries, my freedom to believe and carry out what my religion espouses, even within a religious institution, is under threat of being taken away because a law to protect it from the likes of you was not there. I’m offended and really, really angry with your comment.
Leave Politics and Ideology out Please
Dear Team – I love the magazine but note of late that your articles and opinions have been biased.
Your magazine recently displayed a hugely one-sided article about Coogee Labour representative Marjorie O’Neill, which was also preceded by a similar soft piece about Kerryn Phelps. It would have been nice to hear from the opposition candidates or perhaps even the newly elected Wentworth member (hopefully you have approached and he has been unobliging to date).
Moreover, I don’t see the need to criticise Israel Folau and your self-labeled pro-discrimination “God-botherers”. Keep your ideology to yourself and please focus on what you deliver best: a terrific community tabloid reporting on local issues, events and classifieds.
A Bit of Respect
Dear Beast – I love reading your magazine, The Beast. I’ve been reading it for a few years now. However, I was disappointed after reading one of the articles featured in the August 2019 edition, titled “The Unreliable Guide To… De-termination”, written by Nat Shepherd.
Firstly, as a Catholic, I found the article to be quite disrespectful towards not only Christianity but also other monotheistic faiths such as Islam and Judaism, as in the caption of the photo, people of faith (who appear as the anti-abortionists in the image) are referred to as “God-botherers”. The phrase was used not only in this article but also in the Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down article on page 16 of the magazine.
This is insulting and degrading, as it invalidates the faith and spirituality of anyone who believes in a God, and it implies that people of faith are not loved, wanted and valued by their God, and are instead a bother and a nuisance to their God. Personally, I know this to be completely untrue; I know my God as a kind, loving and compassionate friend, which is why I felt disgusted after reading this comment.
Secondly, under the subtitle “What is life?”, a mockery is made of God: “If we must obey God’s plans for our existence, surely we should not use technology to go against the things He, in His infinite wisdom, sends to shorten our lives, such as disease”. This statement is not only sarcastic but also offensive and untrue. God is not vengeful and does not send us diseases and illnesses to shorten our lives – this is an outdated belief.
I hope you appreciate my feedback and my point of view.
The Mammoth in the Room
Hi Guys – Waverley Council’s Nicola Saltman (Electric Vehicles: Five Common Myths Debunked, The Beast, August 2019) writes about the benefits of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and in particular of the availability of charging stations. The article, however, does not confront the elephant – or perhaps the mammoth – in the room, being the time a recharge takes.
Waverley Council, which has a charging station on Queen Elizabeth Drive, states on its website that the charging station provides 150km/h. Not satisfactory if there is a queue. I guess that is irrelevant as there is no provision for, nor room for, a queue, and the station only has provision for one car. Keep driving around the block until, hopefully, the spot is vacant, I guess.
The NRMA tells us that a level 1 charger provides roughly 3 kilometres for every 15 minutes of charging, level 2 around 300 kilometres per 6 hours, level 3 about 300 kilometres per 20 minutes and the ‘ultra fast’ charge provides approximately 400 kilometres per every 15 minutes of charging.
Anyone who drives to the South Coast from Sydney during holiday periods would be aware of the high traffic density. Having reached Ulladulla (250 kilometres away) many would consider a recharge prudent and certainly necessary for a return trip. Many thousands of cars make that trip. I can only imagine the length of resultant queues at whatever charging stations might be available (should there be parking room) either there or at any location a similar distance from Sydney should there be a significant uptake of EVs at the present level of technology.
Hopefully the future will provide practical facilities for those who are attracted to EVs.
Everyone Loves Brooke
Hi Editors – It’s not often I write to you with praise, but I sincerely congratulate you on publishing the interview with Brooke Boney (Brooke Boney – We Need to Talk, The Beast, August 2019). Great to see her given the space to express her thoughts, ideas and experiences.
It’s a terrific interview, expanding thoughtfully on serious topics in terms that reflect deep knowledge and reflection, and at the same time describe experiences that are recognisable to the everyday reader. Informed, articulate, accessible – thank you The Beast, and especially thank you Brooke Boney.
Dear James & Dan – I just wanted to offer you guys my commendation for your little mag – I love reading it, especially the longer format interviews. It’s good to have a bit more space to explore things a bit deeper with some of the interesting characters you track down. Your questions are generally spot on – insightful, exploratory, but not over intrusive.
I’ve learnt a lot about the people you’ve interviewed and the issues they’re engaged with from reading them. That Anthony Lister interview would have been a bit of a challenge I’m guessing! He’s a tripper, who seems to like expressing in half riddles!
Well done, a little gem I have found since I’ve moved to the Eastern Suburbs the last few years.
Dr Richard Stiles
Dog Owners are Dicks
In response to ‘Cafés Just for Humans’ (Letters, The Beast, July 2019), a few days after I read the article I was sitting outside at a café on Frenchmans Road, enjoying breakfast with my wife, when this guy comes with his dog. Within a minute or two his dog was licking my lap for food.
I brought it to the dog owner’s attention, “Excuse me sir, what is your dog’s name? Look, how funny, it is licking my pants…” Actually, that did not happen. What really happened was, as I brought the matter to his attention he initially apologised and then he just started abusing me with the F-word several times and telling the dog, “Don’t get close to him, he stinks…”
What a nice way to enjoy our morning coffee! Beware of dog owners, I’ve only got myself to blame for this.
Cafes Just for Humans
Bravo! Someone finally called it for what it is. Coogee Bay Road on most mornings, weekends in particular, has turned into another dog park. Walking along the footpath, one must walk around or step over the plethora of dogs sitting around there.
Their barking is a nuisance and they often lay just inside or at the entrance of many cafe’s, which from last observation is against the health regulations.
Council should have inspectors walking around fining the food and beverage businesses that allow dogs inside.
Far Too Many Miserable People
In response to Nos from Maroubra’s letter (Cafés Just For Humans, Letters, The Beast, July 2019), if you ask me, the number of humans, especially the miserable variety, are the ones in too much abundance.
Leave the dogs alone, they are beautiful, happy souls and their spirit certainly soaks up a good deal of the aforementioned variety of human.
I am not sure your wish for peace in a public space is entirely feasible – with or without dogs. There’s always the sound of children, either playing or engaging in a tantrum, and the pretentious, overly loud squawk of conversations nearby. Or, worse still, the one-sided variety conducted on speaker phone including, but not limited to, heated debates over whether the kale was organic or not.
I vote for more dogs in cafés, and kudos to all the cafés around our beautiful beaches that look after their doggy visitors so well.