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Letters May 2017

By The People of the Eastern Suburbs on May 4, 2017 in People

Illustration: Dalton Wills

“Healthy, Happy and Wise” – I almost fell on my face laughing in the middle of Spring Street. Clever, maybe, having made a success selling brand Pete, but anyone peddling anti-vaccination, anti-fluoridation twaddle is far from “wise”.
Angus Macrory, Bondi Junction

A few quick points on Pete: he doesn’t just delete mean comments on Facebook, but he deletes any comment that might contradict his conspiratorial views, no matter how polite you might be. Being the know-it-all narc that I am, I decided to respectfully point out the inaccuracies in his sunscreen comments and, boy, quicker than a flash of lightning my comment was deleted and I was banned. Do you sit there all day Pete? Or do you hire someone to permanently watch your Facebook?

Regarding fluoride, Pete fails on dose level. Fluoride is only a neurotoxin in high concentrations. Fluoride occurs naturally in rivers, lakes, etc. and there is no difference between man-made fluoride and naturally occurring fluoride. Tea has very high concentrations of fluoride, way higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended rate to water, and in cultures where tea is consumed a lot more than water, I believe (though I’m not too sure on details) there are cases of fluorosis (weakening of the bones), but not brain damage.

And yeah, Aboriginal people didn’t drink milk, but that doesn’t mean ‘Milk is bad for you’, or whatever Pete said.
Anthony Bosch, Bronte

P.S. I should apologise to the people at Save Bronte. I did go a bit over the top in my last letter. I was very hungover, and if that’s what they want to blow up about, who am I to judge?

In the United States, Easter days are not federal public holidays, probably due to a stronger constitutional separation of church and state culture than we have here. Some states are an exception. As for every religion having a holiday, what about those with no religion, one of the largest groups in Australia? I suggest the answer is strictly secular: no public holidays for any belief, be it religious or otherwise.
Max Wallace
Rationalist Association of NSW

CAR PARK-GATE #1000000
I would like to thank Alan Doyle/Mark Hersey for drawing the readers’ attention to the ‘No Underground Car Park for Bondi Beach’ Facebook page. It is an excellent source of information and has over 1,000 likes – unlike Hersey/Doyle’s lonely crusade. Hersey/Doyle has had to endure his lies being shot down in flames every other month (or week, until the Wentworth Courier got sick of him), and it turns out that this month will be no exception.

The results quoted by Mr. Doyle/Hersey were from the infamous ‘Have Your Say’ survey. TICK A BOX number 43 (of 46) asked: “Pedestrianise Queen Elizabeth Drive and create more green space through new underground car park.” Now, anyone with the most rudimentary grasp of market research principles will know that double-barrelled questions are a no-no (let alone triple-barrelled questions). Was this much-vaunted “60 per cent” saying yes to “more green space” (hello, motherhood question anyone?) or to a “new underground car park”? Or did they just want the QED pedestrianised? Or all of the above? It’s impossible to say, thus rendering the 60 per cent figure statistically invalid.

Compare this with the subsequent survey that required respondents to actually do more than tick boxes; they had to write, like, consecutive words. Indeed, some respondents penned serious essays on the topic. Well over one hundred responses were received and published on Waverley Council’s website. Approximately 84 per cent were against the underground car park proposal, so it is little wonder Waverley Council ignored the results and approved their $100,000 feasibility study regardless! Your taxes at work, folks.

But hang on, what is that sound? Yes, it is Alan Doyle/Mark Hersey and his developer mates choking on their ad hominem attacks and ‘alternative facts’!

Andrew Worssam, Bondi

P.S. I might be a bit paranoid here, but is there any suggestion that Mark Hersey and Allan Doyle are the same person?

Great to read the ‘More Bits and Pieces From Around the Beaches’ page in your recent issue. It’s so much easier to read this when it’s printed on a white background rather than the usual coloured page. Awesome job!
Jason (no address provided)

Dear Dan and James,
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your ‘Beast’. I look forward particularly to reading Nat Shepherd’s story in the ‘Unreliable Guide’ each month, as it is always fun and entertaining.
I’d also like to let you know that the last two issues have been even more helpful and informative than usual, with information about cafes and events, etc. that I would like to visit.
Keep up the good work,
Yvonne Wylies, Coogee

I usually love reading your rants. Pearl gives me a good laugh! But this month the content is not funny. Your photo of Dr. Andrew Wakefield and subsequent claims that he has been jailed are incorrect. A simple Google search would have given you that information. And trivialising such a serious topic as immunisation is quite frankly irresponsible on your part.

The fact that there is so much debate and concern about the safety of the current vaccines being injected into newborns – like Hep B for example, a disease you get from unprotected sex or dirty needles – by educated locals and millions of others worldwide would under normal circumstances warrant unbiased investigation by the government.
I am educated and have vaccinated my children, however, I can think critically and choose now to protect my immunity from heavy metals contained in the vaccines by seeking healthier ways to ward off diseases like the flu.
Stick to the lighthearted digs at the locals, Pearl, unless you are willing to do quality research and report in an unbiased fashion.
Unconvinced, Coogee

I’m fed up with this selective ticketing.

If I overstay my parking meter by 10 minutes, inevitably I find a ticket under my wiper. If I stop in one of the ‘no stopping’ areas, which used to be ‘no standing’, I get a ticket. Why do I never see a ticket on all the illegally parked vehicles on Warners Avenue between Mitchell and Glenayr? Walking this stretch at night is a serious hazard. Mothers with strollers are forced onto the road when vehicles park in driveways and encroach on the footpath.

Roads & Maritime clearly states: You must not stop your vehicle (that is, bring it to a stop and either stay with the vehicle or leave it parked) in the following circumstances: On or across a driveway (unless dropping off or picking up passengers for no longer than two minutes); On or across a footpath.

How can the parking police be so blind to a cash cow of this magnitude? It’s not just Warners; it’s all over Bondi.
So give me a break. Look at new opportunities and let me run in and get my skinny almond latte and spend $6 instead of $259.
Richard Lees (no address provided)

Hello Beast,
May I offer my congratulations to both George M (What Constitutes a Local, Letters, The Beast, April 2017) and Dave Martin (Sorry Johnny!, Letters, The Beast, April 2017) for making the shortlist of the best letters to ever be published by this magazine. As a born and bred ‘local’ of Coogee, I too took issue with Marie’s statement that the worst thing about the Eastern Suburbs is the amount of tourists. I, as well, have to respectfully disagree with Marie, as tourists actually benefit the area in a number of ways, such as boosting local business. Tourists in summer also add to the atmosphere of the beaches, which I think we take for granted. I am an oddball, but I think it’s great that tourists and ‘outsiders’ come to spend their leisure out our beaches; life is meant to be enjoyed.

To answer what constitutes a local, George, you need to: (a) move here less than 10 years ago; (b) complain about parking; and (c) go out of your way to tell everyone you support the South Melbourne Swans. I hope that helps. I think there would be more attributes that build the Eastern Beaches ‘local’. George, you should be enamored with the super ‘local’ Pete Evans gracing the April edition, preaching his irresponsible belief that his unscientific methods will save the world.

Now to move on to Dave’s letter. I think that this disdain towards tourists has blinded a majority of narcs in the Coogee area. For some reason the narcs failed to highlight the abject failure of the council to both realise that quite a lot of people are probably going to have a few beers at the beach to enjoy the festive season, and then, following this, to provide the adequate infrastructure, i.e. skip bins. to mitigate the garbage on Coogee Beach.
I’m going to also offer a suggestion that perhaps a lot of the people who were on the beach that Christmas were in fact ‘locals’, but the narcs have successfully forced the blame on all those backpackers who just ruin the ambience of our area. Also, it is probably not unreasonable to suggest that the same narcs, if they were still in their early 20s, would have been at the beach party, and in their youth would have also run amok as backpackers in Europe/South America to the disdain of locals there.

Now all adults and businesses on the strip are punished for the actions of a few, all so we can generate a family friendly atmosphere. The family friendly atmosphere is a paramount aim, but as Dave highlights, Coogee already had it and it always had it – I know; I grew up here. The alcohol ban is a kneejerk reaction. A dusk to dawn ban would be much more effective without punishing businesses in the area. Instead, it will become more common to see police patrolling the area like the video I saw of 15-20 riot police going down to Thommo’s (Gordons Bay) to take away all alcohol, and the time I saw about 20 police officers walking the promenade of Coogee in the mid-morning of December 28.

I am unsure what is less family friendly, a few respectful adults having a few beers while they enjoy the outdoors, or riot police creating a pretty hostile environment? Hopefully Cr D’Souza can enlighten us.
Angus Bennett, Coogee

I am replying to Dave Martin regarding his letter saying there has been a kneejerk reaction to what occurred on Christmas Day at Coogee Beach and parks, and the subsequent total alcohol ban (Sorry Johnny!, Letters, The Beast, April 2017).

We dodged a bullet! This was a very timely warning with a barely containable crowd of 10,000 necessitating the shark alarm to be sounded three times with drunken revellers having to be dragged away from the rising tide. This is a health and safety issue. How can we not support our police and our life saving club in their endeavors to protect us!
Coogee has a plethora of licensed drinking options in beachside clubs, pubs and restaurants for all of us (locals and visitors alike) to enjoy.

With an alcohol ban in place at Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte, and the rising use of social media, we simply can’t put Coogee Beach at risk again of becoming the go to party hub. We simply don’t have the resources to cope with occurrences such as Christmas Day.

Yes, it is a disappointment that we have to put this ban in place, but the alternative must ring alarm bells for any clearly thinking resident.

I live right on the beach and since the permanent ban on alcohol I have to disagree that the crowds have diminished. The crowds right outside my place and on the promenade and the beach all over January were greater than ever.
Pancho, Coogee

Please support the current ban on alcohol in Coogee and surrounding parks, just like the rest of the beaches and parks in Randwick Council!

The difference that the ban has made over the past few months has changed the community so much for the better. We’ve had enough, and we don’t want our beach and parks trashed anymore, or our rates paying for scenes of rubbish and grot anymore.
Donna Singer, Coogee

If you are to overhear a conversation at any cafe across the east, you will find many people will be talking about their ridiculously overpriced properties, high rents, or the problems with the busy roads and lack of parking. Welcome to the Eastern Suburbs, where being late for work is because you couldn’t find a parking spot, your bus was late or full, or you were lining for a long time at the local cafe. Currently all these ‘traffic’ issues are heightened by the construction of new apartments and the light rail.

As we go on our merry way in life in the east, I wonder what exactly are the solutions to these problems of traffic, parking, and real estate (renting and buying). In the past 15 years, I have noticed major differences in traffic and parking, even with the parking permit schemes available. I guess cars are now cheaper, so it is easier to drive everywhere than take public transport.

On weekends, it’s worse, as everyone is out enjoying themselves, and it takes longer to get from A to B.
I was having coffee with a friend who had just moved to Coogee. She was complaining to me about the parking and traffic issues in that suburb. I said to her: “What did you expect?” I further said, “One day this will all be a car park or a three-lane highway.”

Living in the Eastern Suburbs has some great advantages, but what are the actual solutions to the problems with parking, traffic, and the price of real estate? All I know is that I’m sick of hearing about it. One has to realise that the Eastern Suburbs is basically congested, but everyone seems to want to live here. If one keeps on complaining about it, I’m sure they would have a solution for it, perhaps. Maybe the upcoming light rail could reduce congestion on our roads, but we will have to wait and see.

For now we have to live with it, unless there is a great solution, but if not, maybe there are other areas one could move to, like the country.
Anna Cook, Maroubra

Dear Beast,
I was very pleased to read the article about takeaway coffee cups last issue (Takeaway Coffee Cups – The Issues ‘Unwrappped’, Enviro News, The Beast, April 2017). It made me feel that someone finally said out loud what I have on my mind every single day. Coming to Australia about three years ago, I must admit I was shocked to see such plastic waste – complimentary plastic bags in Woolies and Coles and the huge amount of takeaway cups were my biggest concerns.

Being European, we don’t get any of these back at home for free. It kind of makes people think if they really need five (or more!) plastic bags for their weekly shopping, plastic water bottles for single use, and a takeaway cup for their daily coffee. And it works! People got used to bringing their own cups; in some cafés you even get awarded for bringing it, whether it is a free snack or a discount on your next coffee.

It would be great to see a similar approach here and, most importantly, to see people being more conscious before they buy another piece of plastic, which in most cases they don’t even need. This is a real problem (every piece of plastic ever made still exists today!) and we all have to play our part to battle it in order to save our planet.
Please, keep that in mind before you buy another takeaway coffee cup tomorrow morning.
Martina, Coogee

Every day last week ataround 7:30am there were between one and three cars parked on Bondi Road where the signage clearly states ‘No Stopping 7AM – 9AM’. As my ‘late to school’ 11-year-old son correctly observed, it’s like they are parking in the middle of the road.

Whilst offending vehicles appeared to have tickets, which improves Council revenue, this does nothing to reduce the impact on the environment caused by bringing Bondi Road almost to a standstill in one lane.

Can Council give tow truck operators an incentive to remove these vehicles and tow them to somewhere west of Penrith for the owners to find, or simply crush and recycle the vehicles with a same day service?
Richard, Bondi

Hi Dan and James,
I just wanted to comment on an article that appeared in the April issue of the Beast (Coogee Beach Water Quality: A Storm in a Teacup, New, The Beast, April 2017).
At the end of the article, Ms. Gray comments on extending the stormwater pipe discharge point at Coogee Beach: “The latter strategy was investigated and then deemed ‘not viable’ in 2014 for being too expensive, so its fate this time around will likely rest on whether funding can be raised.”
I just want to tell you about funding. The NSW government has loads and loads of it. I live in a building possibly the closest to the stormwater pipe at Coogee’s northern end. A very recent unexpected death resulted in one of our units being sold for $2.3 million the other week, with stamp duty of $112,000 being paid straight into the state coffers. Another unit just sold for $2 million last week with the stamp duty of almost $100,000 also being paid. This is just one Coogee building within one month!
Our NSW government is absolutely reaping a massive unplanned windfall. At the very least give the people of Coogee enough of a portion of this windfall back to fix the outfall, particularly those who live right next to it who are being taxed abominably for the privilege. At the very least they deserve a clean beach.
Thank you.
Julie Podmore, Coogee Beach