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Ku-ring-gai (North Shore Times, Dec 19th 2003)

Good on Councillors Keays, Kitson and Coleman for steadfastly standing up against the State Government’s dictatorial demands (NST Editorial 10 Dec). The Ku-ring-gai community has repeatedly and irrefutably demonstrated that it opposes the dictatorial high-density requirements of the NSW Planning Administration.
There might conceivably be some excuse for these policies if the Planning Administration could demonstrate any benefit to the public at large. But it has not been able to justify its catastrophic urban consolidation impositions and has never credibly responded to any critical analysis.

The Government shamelessly hides behind councils and the Land & Environment Court to do its dirty work. I do not see why Ku-ring-gai Council or any other council should act as its Vichy Government. As you say – to hell with the consequences. Let the responsibility for the forthcoming planning disaster fall squarely where it belongs – onto our jack-booted State Government.

Tony Recsei


Black Armbands (Sydney Morning Herald)

As we mourn a non working Sydney Harbour (Lament for our harbour SMH 28.11.03) and the
destruction of its suburbs (Block them Ku-ring-gai SMH 28.11.03) may I suggest the following:
the blackening of the Opera House sails at night, the turning on of vehicle headlights during the day
and the wearing of black armbands by the people until the Premier sees what he is doing and fixes
it. It is sad Sydney destroys the things we love.

Anne Carroll


Our Hospitals (Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 13th 2003)

Paola Totaro’s description of two pivotal hospitals falling apart under the strain of a burgeoning population highlights the irresponsibility of the State Government’s high-density policies ("Right response, wrong minister", Herald 12 December). The Planning Department refers to "the public sector and human service cost savings attained through urban consolidation". This is their official-speak for saving money by cramming more and more people into our suburbs without upgrading infrastructure.
The result is human tragedy in our hospitals, out-of control crime, stifling traffic congestion, crumbling public transport, overflowing sewers, water shortages, power outages and unaffordable house prices.

Our politicians probably assume that they can to be re-elected before the appalling consequences of such recklessness really hit home.

Tony Recsei


Air Traffic Safety, Noise and Pollution (Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 9th 2003)

Paul Sheehan refers to the awful consequences of one shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missile, such as the Stinger, being fired from inside an urban area at a large commercial airliner (Herald 8 December). The aircraft approach procedures adopted by Airservices Australia over Sydney facilitate such an attack. These procedures force aircraft to fly in low and slow, on predictable flight paths, at predictable times, with engines blasting out large amounts of the exhaust heat that guides heat-seeking missiles to their target. The Sydney procedures also waste fuel and produce vast amounts of noise and pollution. With flaps extended, {this is like driving a car down a hill while simultaneously pressing both the accelerator and the brake pedals}.
It would be preferable for the descent procedures to allow aircraft to adopt "power-off" continuous descent approaches, such as are applied in London and Frankfort. With engines set to flight-idle, safety would be enhanced as aircraft would emit less heat and be higher for much of the descent to the airport. An added benefit would be a reduction of the aircraft noise and air pollution that is currently being inflicted on long-suffering Sydney communities.

Tony Recsei


re: Working Harbour (Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 8th 2003)

So the Carr Government is going to "enhance" the harbour by converting the container shipping area into "public space and residential housing". If what happened to the old power station site next to the Iron Cove Bridge is an example, then I'd prefer the container shipping to stay. The gross overdevelopment of the Iron Cove site is a blight on the harbour and a demonstration of an outcome when developers build too close a relationship with a government whose party arm has become addicted to political donations from developers".

Graham Lewis



Banishing freighters, container ships and tugs from Sydney Harbour is like banishing trains from the railway system. It would leave an empty shell.

Filling the waterfront more bland apartments built by major donors to the NSW ALP and Liberal Party adds insult to the injury of this government's
unprecedented sell-off of public land and our social capital.

Who was consulted when Bob Carr decided to kill one of the Pacific¹s great seaports? Were we asked if we wanted public harbour land sold to
property developers? ALP members and the Unions weren't asked. Only property developers and Patrick Stevedores appear to have been asked.

The harbour is public land. It is not to be privatised by Carr selling this public land to his mates in Meriton, Lend Lease and Trafalgar Properties.

T (02) 9331 6621


re: Developer donations (North Shore Times, Sept 19th 2003)

Gerald Donovan, your letter ("Council action needed", NST 5 Sept) asks Willoughby Council to call a halt to the endless proliferation of units in Artarmon. Unfortunately Willoughby Council finds itself dancing to the tune of PlanningNSW. In spite agreeing to a huge amount of high-rise in Chatswood, the blight of high-density continues to proliferate.

Councils all over Sydney are discovering the futility of caving in to the demands of government bureaucrats. The more you concede, the more they exact.

Well may you say "Willoughby Council, do something to save this wonderful suburb". Nothing will save your suburb until the people of Sydney rise up against government high-density bullies.

Tony Recsei
President Save Our Suburbs


Premier is on the nose (North Shore Times, Sept 19th 2003)

YOUR leading article of September 12 quotes a federal backbencher as saying of Premier Bob Carr that he has a nose for what the people want.

It would be far truer to say that Mr Carr has a nose for what the people want to hear.

Not so long ago Mr Carr asserted that Sydney is bursting at the seams and deplored the prospect of wall-to-wall apartments from the ocean to the mountains.

If Mr Carr had been sincere, he would have put his leadership where his mouth is and abandoned his overcrowding policy by repealing the iniquitous SEPPs 5 and 53.

However, contrary to Mr Carr's pious hopes, overcrowding keeps marching on, turning Sydney into an expensive slum and making developers rich.

So Mr Carr is just another politician hungry for more power.

Hugh Knox


Higher housing prices benefit State Governments (Australian Financial Review, Aug 18th 2003)

Your editorial "States control housing levers" (AFR 12) alleges that Save Our Suburbs and other NIMBY movements make politicians tremble in their boots.
So they should, given the misleading government statements that the policy of forcing high-population densities onto communities who oppose this imposition is to the benefit of the population as a whole.

The real problem is that the States (NSW in particular) really do control the supply of housing and are directly accountable for high prices.

In 1993 NSW land releases accounted for 42% of new housing but by 1999, this figure had slumped to 28%. With an increasing population, and a limitation on the release of new land, higher prices are inevitable.

The supply-side alternative of increased medium-density development (peddled by the Carr Government as a solution) is not more affordable but results in congestion and places the burden of the provision of infrastructure to support these developments on the local government.

There are two solutions to the affordability issue: Increase supply on the urban fringe (where the public costs of infrastructure provision are lower than in existing urban areas) or reduce demand through the development of alternative regional hubs.

The arguments about housing affordability that are put forward by the government hide the benefits to state governments in the continued high-priced housing. They continue to be recipients of very large revenues through stamp duty to support their profligate spending.

Tony Recsei
President Save Our Suburbs
Warrawee, NSW


Power Plays (Sydney Morning Herald, July 29th 2003)

The chickens are coming home to roost ("Revealed: the suburbs facing blackouts", Herald July 28) For a decade the State Government has been forcing high density dwellings onto unwilling communities. The claimed reason was that this saves cost compared to developing new urban sites.
But we now read that "the suburbs are facing blackouts" and that Energy Australia is proposing to impose a 25% "congestion surcharge".

It should have been obvious this would happen. The infrastructure of our suburbs was designed for the density of dwellings then built. Retrofitting higher density and power-hungry multi-unit structures onto communities originally designed for low density must overload infrastructure. It is more cost-efficient to provide new infrastructure on a clean slate than to upgrade existing installations, with all the obstructions, legal constraints and problems of obsolescent engineering which that entails.

High density imposed onto communities merely postpones expenditure. The ultimate bill, which will only become apparent when the current batch of politicians have moved on, will be much higher.

Tony Recsei,


Power-hungry Planning (Sydney Morning Herald, July 30th, 2003)

Perhaps its time architects, town planners and infrastructure providers started liasing ("Customers asked to pay for power upgrade", Herald July 29). Houses and estates are being developed with reliance on air-conditioning becoming essential. Maybe there's another way.

In our hot climate why do we continue to build huge houses with no eaves with protection from the sun? Huge houses that occupy the whole block leaving no room for shade trees?

Why do new housing developments raze every tree on the site before replacing them with the built environment that helps to increase the heat of the suburb? Why is every remaining soft surface paved or cemented over, adding more heat?

Carey Buls,


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