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Letters to the editor: race cancellation, RSL bar closure, nuclear energy and more

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Your say: seawall plans, bus numbers and more

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name More

Highway mayhem following crashes in both lanes

The Bruce Highway was closed for more than three hours this morning following crashes both north and southbound. Twelve people were injured in the accidents, More

Cheers to a new generation bringing cane back to the farm

Sugarcane is being planted on a Sunshine Coast farm for the first time in 20 years as members of a local family pioneer a More

Childcare centre proposal sparks debate over location

Councillors have debated the need for new childcare centre that would deliver an “essential service” to a burgeoning business district. A development application was submitted More

Application seeks increased number of units on vacant block

The real estate trio behind a proposed unit complex at Caloundra hopes to almost double the number of units approved for the site. About M, More

Division by division: what your suburb gets in council budget

The newly-elected Sunshine Coast Council yesterday handed down its first budget, with mayor Rosanna Natoli saying it was focused on “improving transport, roads, pathways More

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb for accountability, credibility and transparency. Preference will be give to letters of 100 words or less.

I feel like most people (competitors and spectators) would be quite happy with a split race (timed event).

The origin of the race was actually a times event exclusively. I believe the decision is a misstep. For many years, I was a member of the Pomona SES and was on the mountain for the race, and a morning and afternoon race would be quite possible and viable.

Nathanael Ford, Pinbarren

This is a mountain of rock which is unlikely to be damaged by 100 people running up and down it once a year, especially since they have been doing it for 44 years. I lived in Pomona as a child and we grew up doing climbs to the top of Mount Cooroora in the ’60s and people were doing it way before I went there. They say they are worried about contestants injuring themselves? They sign off on their application to race knowing the risks and agreeing to be fully responsible for any injury.

Let them race!

Bob Carroll, Maroochydore

How would I find out our Sunshine Coast mayoral candidates’ honest stand on Australia Day, whether they would still have celebrations and ceremonies on the day of the 26th January, or will they scrap, or change the day, as I believe we all deserve to know their stand, before, not after.

Keith Young, Mooloolaba

Bruce has a divided personality. East of Bruce he has more money and has more assistance and west of Bruce he is fairly neglected and often left to fend for himself. Or so it seems to anyone living west of the Bruce Highway within the Sunshine Coast Council’s area of responsibility.

Many cases can be highlighted. One recently has made me very angry. The local hall at Glass House Mountains has been given just one month’s notice that after 39 years they will no longer service the toilets. These are next to a children’s park. One reason given was that there are other public toilets nearby. Okay, another park nearby has them and so has the small shopping area. Both are not obvious and you would only know about them if you lived in the area. There is a railway station opposite but the toilets there are not always open. What does a parent do when their child states “I need to go, now!”?

I remember our mayor basking in the glory of the hall’s centenary, but the council removes the responsibility. Then they say that they will no longer mow either.

What do we pay our rates for? We are getting less and less. I would be interested in what others expect from the rates and fees we pay. Rubbish removal, mowing, servicing public amenities, library services. Some more I can think of yet many are contracted out which probably costs us more in the long run. Contracting out to other business just means, in most cases, you will not get a good job done, just the cheapest.

The council is there for us all of us on the Sunshine Coast, not just Maroochydore.  Stop penny pinching and taking advantage of the current electoral turmoil and service the toilets and mow the grass.

G Hill, Glass House Mountains

My wife and I plan to cast our votes early, so I decided to explore the mayoral candidates to find one who aligns with my vision for Caloundra.

Here are my priorities: making sure the heavy rail to Caloundra becomes a reality; improving the nightlife in Caloundra, which currently lacks activity after 8.30pm; preventing Caloundra from turning into another Gold Coast with excessive high-rise developments and rising crime rates; safeguarding our environment; encouraging the growth of new businesses to attract talent and create opportunities for young adults, similar to the successes seen with the new hospital and university over the past two decades; implementing effective traffic planning for Caloundra; and electing a genuinely passionate candidate with strong leadership skills.

After watching each candidate’s three-minute introductions and reading editorials about them in the Sunshine Coast News, I formed the following impressions: Michael Burgess seems environmentally conscious and advocates for fiscal responsibility, but I’m not entirely convinced about his approach to borrowing money; Rosanna Natoli shows strong support for the arts and the heavy rail project, but there are doubts about the sincerity of her promises; Jason O’Pray, while popular among some circles, has been on the council for a long time, raising concerns about the potential for more of the same; Wayne Parcell emphasises leadership and experience but lacks clarity on specific deliverables; Ashley Robinson appears grounded and community-focused but lacks a clear vision for mayoral change; Min Swan impresses with her passion and comprehensive growth plans for the Sunshine Coast, including preparations for upcoming events.

Colin Vale, Kings Beach

When I heard this story about the rail connection my first thought was why is it only going to Caloundra and not to Maroochydore?

I know it would cost more but the Maroochydore and Mooloolaba areas are surely the most popular places for tourists/visitors to come to.

Joy Prowd, Alexandra Headland

It’s a disgrace the developers underestimated the drainage of this new development properly and clearly couldn’t care about it now.

From the time they cut down the trees and cleared the land in 2022, whenever it rains the sediment, mud and rocks from the development are washed down the hill into drains that have been held open with star pickets, into people’s backyards and pools and finally into the waterway system at the bottom of The Pavilions. The council have been notified on numerous occasions. They have cleaned up once on North Ridge Avenue, but since then nothing has been done.

Josh, Peregian Springs

I read your article about the sad and unnecessary closure of the Diggers Bar at the RSL club in Tewantin.

I am an ex-serviceman with 25 years’ service as an officer in the Australian Army. I am not on the committee of the Tewantin Noosa RSL Sub Branch (the owners of the land where the Diggers Bar stands) however I am very much involved in the dispute between the sub-branch and the RSL club. While the detail is not pertinent here one needs to know that it was the sub-branch that got the RSL club going in 1981 and the club has morphed into what it is today. The closure of the Diggers Bar is the culmination of a series of events where the rules relating to the club’s constitution have been ignored.

The object of the club, apart from providing amenities for members, which every social club does, is to “perpetuate the memory of those who have served or shall hereafter serve in the armed forces of Australia and/or its Allies; and to support the objects and ideals of the Returned and Services League of Australia consistent with this Constitution and Rules”.

There is a lot more going on that I have not included here.

Mal Price, Sunrise Beach

I noticed that road closures are going to be put in place for a marathon next weekend.

I also saw this sign advising of disruptions to the boardwalk and park area. What concerns me about this is the fact that merchandising tents etc are going to be erected on the grassed areas as they were last September for the triathlon. The erection of those tents damaged/killed the grass resulting in new turf having to be laid. Who paid for that? Who will be paying if it needs to be done again? I fear it will be the poor ratepayer yet again.

I understand these events are important, but the council needs to more carefully consider the knock-on effects.

Sue Haag, Mooloolaba

I have been making vanilla slices for years: for birthdays, parties, get-togethers and even fundraisers.

I always use Aeroplane Dessert Mix. I went, as usual, to the local Woolworths store at Currimundi Markets last week but, sadly, it was no longer stocked. Can Woolworths please put it back on to the shelf? I live in a retirement village, where vanilla slices are so well liked and popular.

Ponee Louie, Currimundi  

My comment on nuclear is go modular. That way you can place them wherever the most power is required, like a heavy industrial area. If people are complaining about having a modular nuclear power system near them, then what about nuclear-powered marine vessels with all the crew working on such a vessel for years.

In these days I don’t think there is a requirement for the large-scale nuclear power plants that takes years to build.

Roger Mutimer, Redcliffe

The proponents of nuclear power, by and large, seem to have a vested interest in the nuclear industry. Is it relevant to Queenslanders that the French opt for nuclear? There has been questionable polling showing Australian support for nuclear power. What does reality tell us?

A simple internet search on the take-up of rooftop solar shows Queenslanders lead the world in it. Why? Because rooftop solar is already providing Queenslanders with the cheapest electrical energy. But it could be better. For those without rooftop solar, the cost of generation of electricity is not the issue.

The major cost of electricity from the grid for Queenslanders is the transmission cost. What is really needed is more storage close to where the electricity is generated. Community batteries might be the answer. In Wide Bay, there is progress towards the installation of community batteries. Or is that simply due to the initiative of the Noosa Council?

Peter M. Brown, Coolum Beach

I have a vested interest by way of a background in welding, and in particular I am interested in SMRs (small modular reactors). I also work at power stations in Latrobe Valley. The negativity from leftist Labor is the cost argument and from the Greens the waste argument – both of which are wrong.

Let me explain. Recently, a technical breakthrough in electron beam welding of SMR cores has reduced the time to weld the cores from a team of very specialised welders taking 12 months to weld a core to, get this, one day, with the development of electron beam welding. I’ve seen this technology firsthand in Germany 15 years ago with what is now called Weld Australia. This is with the intent to mass produce SMRs by the hundreds in much less time and much less cost with a life cycle of 40 years-plus, then refurbished to extend to up to 75 years.

Secondly, the Americans are working on a new nuclear fuel (see Lightbridge) which is up to five times more effective, does it safer and the fuel cannot be used to create nuclear weapons. The waste produced is also safer to store at end of life.

The real argument is not cost, not environmental safety, but base load capacity to sure up an unstable wind and solar network.

SMRs can be placed at all existing coal mine sites without building over good farming land and through state forests.

Carl Hussell, Lara, Victoria

Australia has for a long time been anti-nuclear due to many unfounded reasons, which only has put Australia a long way behind other nations.

There have been a number of exaggerated alarmist critics, in politics and anti-nuclear activists who have been misinformed by an incredible amount of furphies that only grew like wild weeds among the crops. It’s time to slash those furphies with real facts. These were amplified by ill-informed activists and politicians over the past decades.

Australia has one of the richest reserves of uranium on the entire planet and we don’t even use it. The notion of only going for wind and solar, as Chris Bowen has demanded, is one of the biggest oversights I have ever seen from a politician and quite recently this was proven by the jury on a television program where 100 per cent of the jurors voted to include nuclear energy in the energy mix. Chris Bowen needs to wake up to a few very important facts which I will cite here.

I am very familiar with renewables and this needs to be better understood. There are several ways where renewables can be tapped and the main ones are as follows: ocean energy is effective and governed by tidal changes (intermittent) but is very expensive and we don’t have many suitable tidal locations in Australia apart from Tasmania; solar energy is effective only during daylight hours (very intermittent) but it takes up a very large footprint to place these and maintenance would be prohibitive; hydro energy is a proven power source and there has to be suitable water reservoirs available. The Snowy 2.0 project relies on other intermittent renewables to deliver the power to pump water back up to the other reservoir. Australia is a dry country; wind energy is highly intermittent and variable and also takes up a large footprint. It is also a hazard for birdlife. Overseas windmill data records numerous birds are killed; hydrogen energy holds a lot of promise as we are surrounded by hydrogen locked by the sea water. Solar and wind energy can power electrolysers and produce hydrogen. There are many ways to extract hydrogen even from coal and other products. Oil wells can produce hydrogen by pumping substances down a well to produce the gas. This is being experimented by companies in Europe; nuclear energy is probably the cleanest and most efficient there is today and we have plenty of materials for this energy source. Old reactors are very big and outdated. New modular reactors are small and much easier to maintain and can be built in a short space of time.

The biggest problem we will face very soon is that electric cars are becoming more popular now and I see many every day as people decide to go electric. Should Australia start rushing to go towards replacing their carbon-emitting vehicles with electric vehicles, then we are going to have a huge power demand like we have never seen before and run the risk of rolling backouts nationwide while electric car owners get their cars recharged during the evening. Well, if Chris Bowen has his way, he will find out there is not enough power to supply all those home charging stations sucking up power due to no sun and little or no wind. This is the risk with intermittent power.

There are many other reasons why we should go nuclear. We have a huge number of ill-informed people in this country due to misinformation and scare tactics often being fed by politicians who are not well placed to understand the energy options available.

Australia really needs to start now to have people to be qualified in nuclear physics in order for us to be better placed to start this industry along with outside help to get us on the right track.

John Plummer, Caloundra West

Nuclear power is the only way to go.

Australia must use the latest technology to catch up with the rest of the world. Nuclear reactors and the technology have advanced enormously since Chernobyl. Take us out of the dark ages: use nuclear.

Don Barnes, Whitfield, Victoria

SMSRs (small modular salt reactors) were designed back in the 1930s but didn’t suit nuclear weapons programs.

Russia has numerous SMSRs in boats as floating power stations, as do other countries. They are safer, cheaper and more suited to purpose, so stop interviewing so-called scholars who are agenda-driven not for the benefit of the Australian society. Please, when writing these important columns, have genuine facts of the technology.

Luke Ballantyne 

Many thanks to Sunshine Coast News for the excellent series on nuclear power. It is important to be informed if the Coalition is serious about making nuclear an issue at the next election. The Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy says: “The world is embracing zero-emissions nuclear energy because it solves the energy trilemma of affordability, reliability and emissions reduction.” Nuclear does not solve any of the above, particularly in the Australian context.

Take affordability: it is hugely expensive and time-consuming to build. Projects overseas have run over time and budget, and have been massively subsidised by taxpayers. The American NuScale SMR project – promoted by Peter Dutton – failed, but only after subsidies had climbed to $4 billion. Australian GenCost reported in 2023 “utility-scale solar and onshore wind costs including transmission and storage, are two to seven times cheaper than new coal and small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs)”.

As for reliability, nuclear power plants depend on constant, large amounts of cooling water. With climate change already affecting the running of plants in Europe and America for instance, and the deadly, small but thousands-of-years toxic waste makes it a doubly risky operation.

Finally, in what year does the Coalition propose reaching net zero emissions? Some in its ranks want to renege on our 2050 international commitments; their targets are sounding hollow.

Costs must be spelled out: huge capital investment and long lead times; enrichment and waste management facilities; decommissioning costs, calculated as a $1 billion, 100-year venture as demonstrated empirically in several countries. And how much would the consumer pay?

The Coalition needs to come clean with the Australian public.

Fiona Colin, Malvern East, Victoria

With due respect from mere civil engineer to Professor Lowe, who is a physicist – his opinion expressed contains truths, incomplete information and age-old fearmongering that is out of step with current reality.

Everybody has prejudices, including me – hence the need for media to be the platform for sensible discussion and thus inform others.

Nuclear is not a complicated way of boiling water – it is a very simple way of boiling water more efficiently and incalculably cleaner than ‘burning stuff’. Any complexity relates to ‘over-engineering’ of components to ensure a dangerous material is handled properly and safely.

Professor Lowe raises the age-old demon of safety. Fear is a powerful tool which if applied to aircraft, road vehicles and ships, to the degree it is applied to nuclear, would deny us the very things that so make our lives mobile and a pleasure.

Substantial advances in materials, in processes and in design have taken place since the 1970s. There are 200-plus nuclear powered ships and subs, 414 reactors are operating, 60 are under construction and 440-plus are in the planning stage.

It makes no sense to me that four historical events should be used as leverage to strangle our most effective tool to ‘clean up our act’, when 614-plus events have a proved to be safe and effective, and now, with advances in design and materials, there is even greater safety.

I certainly agree with Professor Lowe that we need to reduce combustion emissions, but vehemently disagree that “the modern nuclear process” should not be pursued, as that is our only and most effective way to reduce emissions.

Regarding waste: the professor is misleading the reader. He knows only too well that high-level waste is actually a resource for modern fast spectrum reactors (part of the modern process), and when “buried” remains accessible for recovery and use as a fuel in what is known as the closed fuel cycle – which means creating and re-creating fuel for power generators an end to mining for uranium. And to top it off – with miniscule waste to totally degrade within a maximum of 500 years.

Lastly, the law is bad. Change the law. It is ink on paper, created by vote-seeking opportunistic politicians, which is strangling the nation.

Peter Cunningham, Bowral, NSW

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb for accountability, credibility and transparency. Preference will be give to letters of 100 words or less.

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