Eden Magnet Letters to the Editor, August 15

Towamba Public School's Moriah Nelson, Hadassah Mitchell, Liz Nelson, Arlie Richardson and Ottillie Richardson learn about birds at the Bournda Bird Olympics.
Towamba Public School's Moriah Nelson, Hadassah Mitchell, Liz Nelson, Arlie Richardson and Ottillie Richardson learn about birds at the Bournda Bird Olympics.

Why no vehicle access?

Many people in town are asking why vehicle access to the new wharf extension has been denied. Lots of older people can't walk the distance and enjoy the benefits of the wharf.

A recent spokesman for the Port Authority stated "We don't want people driving on the wharf". When asked why, he repeated "we just don't want people driving on the wharf".

Now we don't know why such exclusion is warranted but we do know that we have always enjoyed vehicular access to all the wharves in the cove and this one should be no different. When ships are in, fair enough. Otherwise there is no good reason for this dictate.

Come on Mr Kelly, and Mr Constance, this wharf was not just built for bureaucrats. What about the Eden people? Sort it out.

Tony Allison, Eden

Welcoming ideas

I'd like to ask can we have Indigenous dancers to greet passengers, maybe stalls the same day, a huge boost in community, have fresh meat from cattle farmers, our cheeses, and most of all people who care about our community and what we have. Maybe day trips to Bega Cheese, Tilba, Indigenous walks, so much in Merimbula.

Janelle Hogan, Merimbula

Looking ahead to visit

Congratulations on the opening of the wharf. As a past resident of Merimbula I'm really looking forward to calling into Eden in February 2020 on my cruise. Once this has happened I will be very pleased to give you my constructive feedback.

Lynn Terry, Wagga Wagga

Funding vote divisive

This letter has been forwarded to Andrew Constance MP for Bega and will be of interest to local volunteers and community groups who have applied for My Community Project grant funding and are voting online for their project to win.

I hope more volunteers will join other community groups in contacting the local member to improve future funding application processes.

My Community Project grant funding of $260,000 is available for each state electorate which means the funds will be spread very thinly indeed because of the large number of worthwhile projects nominated. In the Bega electorate alone, there are 35 projects requesting total funding of over $2.7million.

All of these projects are worthwhile to the community involved and most are infrastructure based which is value for the future.

So, while Sydney gets billion dollar roads, tunnels and sports arenas, we in regional areas get breadcrumbs scattered before us and have to beg for that. The grant funding offered is 90% less than what the community applied for.

For future funding rounds, it is requested that the voting system be scrapped and the various projects be assessed on their merit. Perhaps by shire councillors and/or RDA board members who should have local knowledge compared to out-of-touch city based government departments.

This voting system tends to split communities and community groups while encouraging parochial attitudes in an unseemly fight for limited public funds. It is likely that smaller community groups will be disadvantaged due to being outnumbered in a public voting system by larger community groups.

Those that miss out will wonder who in the community voted against their project which could lead to some volunteers giving up.

There is also an issue with older residents who generally make up the majority of volunteers in community groups. The grant application and online voting system is onerous and beyond many who are not skilled in computer use.

There is also the potential for harvesting of private information, the supply of which is a requirement for every voter to vote online. It would be interesting to know the cost of the voting system and if it is audited.

In the broader picture of applying for funding grants, federal, state and private, it has become extremely complex and time-consuming for community groups in recent years.

Excessive details and red tape in pages of application forms and more documentation required to be attached.

Please consider issuing simplified grant funding applications and then request more detail from those shortlisted in an attempt to ease the growing administrative burden on community groups.

Gary Smith, manager TeenSafe, Moruya

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