Sunday, July 25, 2010

Community noticeboards

Letter submitted today to the Editor, Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun: Sir, This is a call to the council and merchants of Bellingen. Call me 'late for dinner', or call me 'Pip' (a sobriquet given to me by nurses in 1953, and has stuck, like it or not). But please don't call me 'old fashioned' when I lament Bellingen's loss of community noticeboards. At least three or four have disappeared in the past 40 months.

Noticeboards are a strong indication of a community's vitality (and increase the vitality), and we had plenty of them, but bit by bit we let them go. A visit to the wastelands of outer western suburbs of Sydney readily shows that there are virtually no community noticeboards. The residents live in places of alienation, and the more the noticeboards go, the more alienated the populace becomes.

It's true that so many of Bello's noticeboards have been removed because vandals set them alight. But are we to allow the hoons and firebugs to rule over us, or shall we use our wits to outwit them? Surely this, like all other hooligan activity in Bello, is not beyond the intelligence of local residents to overcome, or have we all given up and are happy to live in a diminishing wasteland? Let's see an uprising of noticeboards, and the firebugs prosecuted and ordered to make amends to the rest of us who want community.

Likewise, North Bellingen has now lost its post box because of vandal firebugs. (Drunken children, I suspect, but can't verify.) It's a 1.2-km return walk to town from Dowle Street just to post a letter. Is it too hard for Australia Post to gather together a few lonely, bureaucratized brain cells to invent a fire-proof post box in order to service the northside? Is it too hard for Bellingen merchants to get fire-proof noticeboards gracing our beloved community again?

Yours sincerely,
Pip Wilson, Bellingen

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