Letters to the Editor

Only 'heritage' can protect streetscape

The word "heritage" has engaged a number of people in offering a view on the streetscape character of Cannan Close. But that focus misses the real issue: councils now have no other meaningful way of preserving this streetscape — or yours — except through "heritage conservation".

Already it's permissible in low-density residential zones for a developer to put up "seniors living" apartments on the 1000-square-metres block next to you.

Under the state government's proposed planning system, you won't even have the opportunity to object.

Cannan Close highlights the adverse impact of this one size fits all approach to urban planning.

It does not allow for the reasonable view that in a suburb of several thousand dwellings there is merit in preserving the future streetscape character for a street of 22 dwellings.

The government says that there will be "suburban character zones" in its new planning system but has released no criteria for this.

Early commentary indicates that it is broadly heritage-based assessment.

And that's where we are now: if your area isn't in some way preserved through "heritage conservation", it's open season for development and you'll have no chance to object. Cannan Close highlights that. Isn't that the real issue?

Bruce Mills, Hornsby C Ward councillor

Leave our open space

I am flabbergasted that Hills councillors propose to convert open space into car parks for M2 commuters.

Why should we sacrifice our open space for car parking? Are councillors aware of our shire's Recreation Strategy and have they read it? I draw their attention to section 2 and its sub-sections in the executive summary.

It is very clear that the council aims to provide a diverse range of accessible open space settings, recreation facilities and services across the shire and allocate its resources equitably so that it has a healthy, vibrant and active community.

Where will our community go for their recreation with loss of open space?

Do councillors realise obesity is a huge rising problem in children?

Playgrounds are places for young mothers to share and exchange ideas. Do councillors realise that for stay-at-home mums, this interaction is vital for their well-being?

Do councillors realise that walks and exercises in these grounds are crucial to maintain the vitality of our seniors?

Have councillors also thought of the inequity they will create for the disabled?

I draw councillors' attention to section 3.1.1 on Demographic Implications, which states "Strong and sustained population growth will drive demand for access to additional parks, reserves, recreation facilities and services."

The shire's population is still growing. This means we need more open space and not less.

This action of councillors will create immense social issues in the shire, so I urge everyone to act and rise against this resolution of council.

Shirley Childs, West Pennant Hills

Resurfacing damage

It is more than two months since road works started on a small section of Old Northern Road, south of Wylds Road, Glenorie.

The method used for resurfacing has caused problems for drivers.

Initially, a layer of mod was laid and left for a while for the traffic movement to compact it and then a layer of mixed road base was laid and also left for a while for traffic to compact it.

Finally, a thin layer of hot mix was laid.

Continued driving over this section of road has left one of our cars with a cracked windscreen and the other with a dent in the bonnet.

The cement is difficult to wash off and scratches the paintwork.

The doors have tar on them.

The road surface is very noisy as proper asphalt wasn't used.

Considering this is a major road, why wasn't a proper repair done?

Robert Mostafavi, Glenorie

School policy concern

I am concerned about the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy that will affect the primary school my children attend.

Matthew Pearce Public School is growing rapidly due to the high regard in which it is held in the community and the transparency afforded by the MySchools website. It's success is in no small part due to the experience of the teaching staff.

Having read the state government's Local Schools, Local Decisions document, I am not reassured that as the school grows, the teacher/student ratio will be maintained; that the school will be able to afford experienced teachers on higher pay in similar numbers to now; and programs and facilities will be funded.

This document states that funding will not be related to the number of students but rather on some nebulous concept it calls the "complexity of the school"!

Education should not be regarded as a cost to be reduced.

It is an investment in our future and the foundation of our economy.

Cutting costs in this way is short-sighted and particularly unfair on those least able to make the difference out of their own incomes.

Please tell me I am wrong: that funding will not decrease, that extra staff will be available as the school grows and facilities maintained to the standard our children deserve.

Why are we emulating school systems in other countries (as explained in the policy document) that have lower educational standards than we have now: countries such as The Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Matthew Tucker, Baulkham Hills

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