Monthly Archives: December 2009

The after-Christmas exodus to the beach

Thousands of Sydneysiders caught in a traffic jam as they escape to the beach the day after Boxing Day 2009

The exodus out of Sydney after Boxing Day creates one big traffic jam

The inclement weather on the day after Boxing Day this year did not stop the crowds escaping Sydney for their annual Christmas vacation at a beach resort north or south of Sydney. Returning from two days at Boomerang Beach with family for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we witnessed the bottleneck (which extended for about 20 kilometres) south of Bulahdelah.

And the weather is still windy, rainy and just a tad ‘not beach weather’ and likely to remain so for a few days. Still there’s plenty of time for the sun to shine as Aussies laze away their summer holiday.

Rain or shine, summer holidays matter because the memories of all those times at the beach, swimming, surfing, fishing, laughing, going brown, getting burnt, enjoying meals together and having some of the best of times are the stuff of happiness.

Sydney Fish Markets Christmas Eve

Crowds pack De Costis at the Sydney Fish Markets in Ultimo on Christmas Eve

Huge crowds pack De Costis at the Sydney Fish Markets in Ultimo on Christmas Eve

It’s crazy to even think of going to the Sydney Fish Markets on Christmas Eve because half of the four million people who live in Sydney have the same idea. It is literally absolutely insane. The queue to the checkout was about 100 metres winding through the store and clogging the isles so that it was almost impossible to move.

I went at 7.30am – wrong! But they open for 24 hours on Christmas Eve and a friend goes every year at about 1am. Apparently it’s even nuts at that hour.

Whatever you do, don’t drive. Catch a ferry, hop a bus, get on the light rail, walk even. It will be faster than driving.

This picture doesn’t quite capture the bedlam but it really was quite amazing. I was glad to escape!

White Bay Precinct redevelopment is a joke

Image of a webpage of the Bays Precinct Sydney website for public consultation which shows it is no more than a pr swindle

Ambiguous text on the Sydney Bays Precinct Consultation website

Even though the Bays Precinct Sydney website says that the consultation process is closing soon, it is, in fact, closed. Another example of a stuff up, however minor.

So it is back to the Internet to get the new Premier’s email and send my comments directly to those who matter: The Premier, Kristina Keneally; The Minister for Transport and Roads, David Campbell; the Minister forPlanning and Infrastructure, Tony Kelly; and our local state government representative, The Minister for Education, Verity Firth.

This is the email sent to this illustrious lot.

Dear Premier

From a visit to the website, I believe that the ‘consultation’ process online at thebaysprecinct.net.au for stage 1 has concluded, however, as a resident of Balmain, I am one of many Balmainites who thoroughly reject two elements of the Bays Precinct redevelopment proposals put forward by your Government and I am writing to you yet again to voice my strong objection to the refueling depot at East Balmain end of White Bay and the International Terminal for cruise ships at White Bay.

Firstly, a refuelling depot does not belong in the heartland of one of the most desired residential suburbs in Sydney. There are homes and people living in close proximity to where the depot is planned to go. This land should be dedicated to open space parkland for the residents of Balmain to enjoy similar to the Illoura Reserve, Peacock Point and Thornton Park. A refuelling depot is the most obscene use of this land so close to a populous residential area. I know of not one Balmain person who supports this proposal. And it could easily be located in an industrial, commercial area that will remain so after redevelopment: for example where the luxury boats are moored on the other side of the Anzac Bridge. I ask you, as a member of the community of Balmain to reconsider the location of the refuelling depot.

Secondly, the international cruise terminal: everyone, except the NSW Government and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, knows that this belongs at Barangaroo. People alighting and departing big ships can easily get into the City, walk to tourist destinations in Cockle Bay and Darling Harbour and have relatively easy access to the extensive public transport system that runs through the Sydney CBD. Getting off and on the Balmain Peninsula in peak hours is already difficult with vehicular congestion (many boats dock in the early morning and leave in the late afternoon so peak hour traffic will be affected by additional taxis and other vehicles catering for passengers and crew). The passenger terminal at Barangaroo was part of the award winning design for the redevelopment of the entire area and should remain at Barangaroo.

In conclusion, although the so-called consultation process has completed on thebaysprecinct.net.au website, the site currently says that it is soon to close and suggests that I could leave a comment but that’s impossible (which is it Premier?).

I want my Government, the Government of New South Wales and any of its agencies such as the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority to take this email as a strong rejection of the refuelling depot and the International Passenger Terminal at the proposed two locations in White Bay and I want my government to take notice of what the people of New South Wales are saying to you.

Yours faithfully
Dr Susie Stevens

Will they listen to the voices of the people? Now, that’s an interesting question that, from recent experience in other matters, we all know the answer to. Hey, but we gotta’ keep at it.

Christmas cheer

Susie Stevens and Bill Twyman dress up for Santa!

Susie and Bill's Christmas message 2009

Cheers to all friends, family and fellow bloggers this Christmas. It’s hard to believe that there are only 12 sleeps until Christmas Day. Hey, but I say that every year. It’s not called the silly season for nothing!

Walking against warming

Image of people walking against warming in Sydney 29 November 2007

Thousands turned out on 29 November 2007 in Sydney to show their support for action on climate change

We’re walking against warming again.

With the international meeting of scientists, politicians and others coming together in Copenhagen at the moment to debate ways to meet the challenges of man-made climate change, we can all do our bit right here.

On Saturday 12 December, Bill and I with a friend, Rob, have signed up to walk against warming with other like-minded people through the streets of Sydney. The walk is the initiative of the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales and has the support of such orgs as GetUp, Australian Conservation Council, Greenpeace, The Climate Institute, AMWU and other unions and many other businesses and not-for-profit organisations. We’re all meeting at Martin Place at 1pm. We registered to help organisers know how many people are coming.

Cate Blanchett and family were amongst the walkers at the last walk of this type in Sydney that I attended. I wonder who will be spotted in the crowd this time?