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letters to the editor on the Kelly’s Bush issue

Bellanto, A. & Lehany, K. in The Weekly Times 14.7.71

Kelly's Bush Finale

The Weekly Times has received countless letters on the controversial Kelly's Bush issue. We have published most of these, together with statements by interested bodies and associations.

With the exception of two letters appearing this week (held over through lack of space) we regret that we cannot publish any more letters on this issue.

Whilst we realise that this is an important matter, we must be fair to other interests and share the available space as equitably as possible. When fresh developments occur we will publish same but in the meantime suggest that those people desiring a resume of happenings up to the present should contact the Mayor of Hunter's Hill, or the MLA for Fuller.

The letters held over are as follows:—

Dear Mr Editor,

The Sydney Morning Herald of the 26th June 1971, reports Mr. Coleman, MLA for Fuller, as "Appealing to the children of Hunter's Hill to urge their parents to pay higher land rates and so enable Hunter's Hill council to purchase and preserve Kelly's Bush".

In the same issue of the said journal, Mr Askin his leader, said his government would give $250,000 each and every year for the betterment of racing facilities.

One would have thought that Mr Coleman would use whatever persuasive powers he had on Mr Askin to allocate the said $250 000 per year for the next two (2) years for the resumption of Kelly's Bush and so have this historic virgin bushland as a nature reserve for the very children who rather than being persuaded, hooted him for suggesting that their parents should dig deep down in their pockets in the furtherance of environmental protection, when his government was simultaneously providing money to install champagne bars, etc., for members at the various race clubs.

This intended expenditure cannot be defended on ecological, moral, political or social grounds. It is completely and utterly improper and indefensible, and shows again the Government's lack of concern for the quality of living which is just as important as the standard of living. The race clubs already receive $7 000 000 per annum from the TAB and rather than add another quarter of a million annually to that total, Mr Askin would be acting in the public's, his own and the children of Hunter's Hill interests if he were to divert some of the said $7 000 000 to the State Planning Authority, the government Instrumentality set up to purchase and preserve our native heritage from those developers who wish to make it an instrument of plunder to the point of no return.

Yours faithfully,

A.J.BELLANTO

84 Woolwich Road Woolwich 2110

Dear Sir,

In recent issues of your paper considerable space has been devoted to Kelly's Bush. As a result my Committee feels that its aim is in danger of being misunderstood and that the main issue is becoming obscured by arguments about detail – such as origin of tracks through the bush and what the local member of Parliament did and did not say on some particular occasion.

Our view is that Kelly's Bush should not be a local council matter at all, but this purchase should be the responsibility of the State Government. It is the only opportunity left for State Government to carry out its stated policy and create one substantial foreshore reserve on our peninsula – not just for local residents but for the people of Sydney. Instead the Government has rejected this opportunity and has stated that the middle portion of the bush is not of regional interest. This of course has forced it to become a local council matter and inevitably all the local problems of sewerage rates and industry on Clarke's Point have become involved. The present decision of the government and local council will result in three separate reserves– fairly close together, but with no interconnections other than by the public road system. That these reserves will be used mainly by local people is accepted implicitly by the Minister for Local Government, who has stated in writing that the limited foreshore reserve, costing $175,000 is a reasonable share of State Planning money to spend on Hunter's Hill people who already enjoy many natural advantages. Considered as a local reserve for local people, we can only agree with him.

However – if the long range planning of Sydney for the people of Sydney is subject to such restrictive considerations then no bold and imaginative planning will be possible and the bigger unique opportunities that occur, such as Kelly's Bush, will continue to be lost through political compromise. We feel we cannot ask you for space to debate the various local government issues that have been raised in your columns, but would like to conclude by pointing out to those people who are so gratified at getting a 5.2 acre reserve at no cost to themselves and the council, that we are fighting to make it a 12 acre reserve at no extra cost and with the added advantage that it join with Weil Park to give a unique combination of playing field and bushland reserve of a total area of approximately 19 acres.

Yours faithfully

Kath Lehany, Secretary, Battlers for Kelly's Bush,

Hunter's Hill 2110

Reproduced with the permission of the author, Kath Lehany.

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