Letters to the Editor

Having long been an advocate for Ballarat's Avenue of Honour, I have followed the controversy over speed limits on Ballarat's Avenue for a long time. I have researched and visited many of our venues and spoken at their centenary and re-dedication events. While acknowledging arguments about safety, accidents including fatalities etc, I must add some comment on the topic of speed limits.

The Avenue of Honour is a memorial both corporate and individual. It is one of the great endeavours undertaken and carried forward by the Ballarat community over the generations and is highly valued by the community. The avenue represent life and in also respecting the life of those travelling the avenue, it is only fair on our drivers that we restrict speed along on this memorial.

In April and May of this year, I was fortunate to undertake a research visit to several overseas centres and communities who also planted avenues to honour those who served in the Great War. Although I did not have the time to visit those of 32 and 25 miles in length in the USA, I did visit one in Canada of 14 kilometres and another of 20 kilometres. On these two, those that most approximate the Ballarat situation, the speed limit is 50 and 60 kph respectively.

The one at University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Mathieson Drive, is the approach to the university. It is only a couple of kilometres long with a limit of 40kph. Surely, 50kph or even 60kph would be preferable at Ballarat as the stroboscopic effect on drivers at 80kph would still lead to the type of accidents we have seen in the past. One of the avenues I visited, like Ballarat's, is a linkage road between communities and is also a main commuter passage between two centres now joined by corridor development. On the smaller avenue, which is only 14 kilometres long, the carriageway is lined with a kerb approximately 600cm high which is an added incentive to keep speed down, but also helps minimise the strobe effect for smaller vehicles.

Michael Taffe, Ballarat

Models from avenues of remembrance overseas show lower speed limits  are the best way to respect the importance of the roads and ensure safety.

Models from avenues of remembrance overseas show lower speed limits are the best way to respect the importance of the roads and ensure safety.

Still waiting while others suffer

In the name of God, Prime Minister: declare an amnesty today." This is the plea of Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins in a letter to Malcolm Turnbull. Of course, it didn't happen. Now we will continue to spend billions of dollars inflicting much suffering on asylum seekers in offshore detention, while waiting for the president of the USA to agree to a dubious exchange deal.

Diane Collacott, Ballarat

Room on the embankment

The proposal to build an hotel on the land - particularly a 4.5-star version - has clearly been viewed as un-viable in view of the more recent decision by the government to convert the concept to 46 serviced apartments. Such a development, in close proximity to the CBD and railway station, of itself is a reasonable proposition in planning terms, but not in the middle of land patently better retained for use for its original transport function, i.e. for car parking, given the latest projections for the expansion of Ballarat.

Part of the apparently surplus land is suitable for development for serviced apartments or townhouses, as recommended in a 2002 report to the state government, i.e. land along the Nolan St frontage, which is currently occupied by little more than a bare embankment. Construction of townhouses in this location, the report suggests 42, two bedroom apartments, would provide residential development to complement a similar, existing development on the northern side of Nolan St, remove an otherwise unattractive interface area north of the station and be an ideal substitute development for the proposed serviced apartments.

It is important that the state government and the Ballarat Council realise that a lot has changed over the past 2 to 3 years and as a result, the proposals for the station precinct need to be changed.

Hedley Thomson, Canadian