There may have been a hospital pencilled in for Frenchs Forest on Rob Stokes' 1948 map ("The city is waiting for change", 31 May), but that doesn't make it appropriate for the 21st century. In fact, when the actual planning process took place in 2005/06, Frenchs Forest ranked a distant third amongst the six sites considered. Its ultimate selection was based on a figure of $21.3 million for the required roading improvements, whereas that is now costing $500 million.
When the then Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, gave the go-ahead for the hospital in 2013, (despite telling a public meeting that he would be debarred by perceived conflict of interest), the information was already out of date, but was not reviewed. Similarly, NSW Planning ignored its own criteria requiring full and current information to support the planning application, and requiring that the overall impact of the project be within acceptable limits.
So not only do we get the massive hospital and a 12-lane highway (at the expense of homes, businesses, parks, and hundreds of the trees which gave the suburb its name), but the state government is hell-bent on further development around the hospital precinct, which will be facilitated by the undemocratic installation of a puppet administrator to run the new Northern Beaches Council.
The suburb is being devastated. This is not the sort of change we want, Mr Stokes.
It's little wonder that for the first time in my life, a month short of my 70th birthday, I took part in a political demonstration last Sunday.
There aren't too many ways available for venting one's anger or frustration at some of the things happening in the world around us. One such escape valve is the good old Letter to the Editor, even if only a small proportion of them gets published. It is often well-nigh impossible to keep the discussion short enough for the newspapers. So rather that have them expire in some Editor's Trash bin, we'll preserve them for posterity here. Inevitably, though, some nuances will be lost for those unfamiliar with the background or the letter or article to which we are responding. But each is undoubtedly a miniature literary masterpiece, though you may find the themes become somewhat repetitive.