Letters to the editor

January 10, 2018

NYE celebrations a hit with visitors

CONGRATULATUIONS to everyone concerned with the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Aquatic Reserve.

My husband and I attended the 9.30pm event with our grandchildren, who we were visiting in Echuca.

The warmth and friendliness of everyone in the area, the amusements for the little ones and the general air of happiness and celebration was infectious.

We spent almost three hours there, leaving only when the fireworks were finished.

And then wandered back to our car and headed home with three very happy, and sleepy, youngsters.

This was the best family event we can recall attending on a New Year’s Eve — and not one drunk or troublemaker in sight.

We hope to be here for the one at the end of this year.

Jane Verrinder

Box Hill

Echuca-Moama losing out with Oscar W’s building

I HAVE given up counting the years Echuca-Moama has been waiting for something, anything, to happen with regards to Oscar W’s in the Port of Echuca.

But to be fair, something has happened.

The building has become more rundown, dying from neglect.

The new tenant won’t; more correctly, can’t, move in because the building has been deemed not safe.

The damage to the riverbank behind Oscar W’s can’t, more correctly, won’t, be fixed because the shire cannot afford it and Canberra refuses to fund it.

The impasse is not anyone’s making, but the shire must stand guilty of having vacillated long enough for things to go seriously awry.

But in the final analysis, we are all the losers because this mess sits smack in the middle of what is becoming an increasingly static and disconnected part of our main tourism precinct.

Have any of you been to the Pioneer Village in Swan Hill to see what can really be achieved?

I recommend it, and recommend the whole council and the shire’s senior management make the trip together and then ask themselves if Echuca-Moama is giving visitors a good deal.

Mark Stephenson


’Troubled youths’ not gangs in Melbourne

WHEN our Prime Minister says “we are very concerned at the growing gang violence and lawlessness in Victoria, in particular in Melbourne,” we all know what he is referring to.

He is talking about the violent acts committed by a certain group of young people in the suburbs of Melbourne.

Mr Turnbull only seeks to shift blame and does nothing to try and solve the issue.

I refuse to use the word ‘gang’ to describe what is happening in the Melbourne Sudanese community.

When I see or read about these issues, I don’t think of violent gangs, I think of troubled young people who are struggling to thrive due to a lack of care and support systems.

What message are you, Malcolm Turnbull, sending our youth? Sending our community?

You say we need to “tackle this gang problem” but the only thing you offer is to label Sudanese young people as a gang, further isolating them from the community.

I recall you saying to me early last year that you did not have much money to give us, and now you claim this is a state level issue – another instance of you dodging important social issues.

Minister Dutton’s comment claiming the people of Melbourne are scared to go out to restaurants at night time is another unwarranted scare tactic that does nothing but harm the already vulnerable Sudanese community.

I refuse to let our politicians play politics with the issue of youth crime.

I see blame being shifted and words being spread but no affirmative action.

It is not appropriate to bring down harsher penalties on these young people, when the proper course of action is to help these people who are clearly in need.

Youth Off The Streets is currently in the community consultation process to assess the need for our services.

We are talking with community leaders and councils in areas that need our help because we only move into an area when we are needed.

We’ve taken this action because I’m sick of seeing the blame game being played by our politicians.

Youth Off The Streets hasn’t been offered funding, but we’re doing this community consultation out of our own pocket.

We believe in the work we do and we believe that with the right support and services, the young people of Melbourne can turn their lives around and unlock their full potential.

Father Chris Riley

Chief executive, Youth Off The Streets

Community to suffer with Back Nine closure

I AM a gate keeper at the Back Nine and have been for a number of years.

Apart from all our local members we have catered for many tourists over many years.

They love our golf course.

They bring their families to Echuca and most of them come to our golf course for a cheap game of golf.

Most of them tell us ‘‘to go to another golf course near by would cost us to much. A golf cart hire, a game of golf, something to eat and drink, there’s no change out of $100. Why would we want to spend all that for a couple of hours when we can play the back nine for half that?’’

And it’s virtually in the town.

Where else could you get a course that’s in the town.

People don’t have to book, it’s a very relaxed dress code and also has BBQ facilities.

Pay attention Echuca council before our tourism dies with the course.

Sort out your financial situation with the YMCA.

Don’t make the community suffer.

Varrell McKee


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