25 November 2022

Probing the polls: pet licences, and seaplanes landing on the lake

| Genevieve Jacobs
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seaplane landing on lake

Should seaplanes be allowed to land on West Basin? Photo: Ben Appleton.

Should we license people before they can own pets? Readers were divided in last week’s poll.

While everyone abhorred the kind of cruelty and neglect that has concerned the RSPCA deeply in recent months, there was caution about the unintended consequences of licensing people before they could take a pet home.

Alex Smorhun said: “Please don’t get me going on this. In my mind cruelty to animals is on par with the worst crimes done by humans. The laws at present are pitiful and judges seem to dismiss its seriousness. Anyway, the only solution is prison time for the offenders and nothing less – no counselling, no education etc – it doesn’t work.”

But Andre Sphenis wrote: “I would like to say yes, but I see owning a dog or cat being as one of the few coping mechanisms that are available to the destitute and the vulnerable, and it’s one of the parts of childhood that any kid might hope for regardless of parental wealth … Otherwise it becomes another luxury item walled off in the picket-fenced middle class and there’s just enough of that already.”

We asked: Do pet owners need a licence? Some 699 readers voted and the results were fairly closely aligned. You could choose to vote: ”No. This will penalise the vulnerable.” This received 41 per cent of the total, or 284 votes. Alternatively, you could choose to vote: ”Yes. Pet ownership is a privilege, not a right.” This received 59 per cent of the total, or 415 votes.

This week we’re wondering whether you’re happy about seaplanes landing on Lake Burley Griffin. After a lengthy approval process, the National Capital Authority gave flights to Sydney and the South Coast the go-ahead. Passengers could embark on up to four flights a day, disembarking from a new pontoon near the National Museum.

READ ALSO NCA to revisit Central Basin as lake users fear seaplanes will sink their businesses

But more than 70 lake users, including the Canberra Yacht Club, dragon boaters, triathletes, canoeists and more, now say the proposal could put them out of business. The Yacht Club alone says 70 per cent of its revenue comes from sailing schools in West Basin, where the planes would land.

Central Basin was ruled out as a landing place due to proximity to the protected Parliament House vistas and the possibility of distracting drivers on the city’s two major bridges.

The NCA’s Sally Barnes says consultation will continue, pointing out that the pandemic had thrown the process into confusion with uncertainty about whether the operator would continue.

Martin Budden wrote: “I’ve said many times the CYC needs the main west basin, always has and always will. There are several other feasible landing areas for the seaplane with much less impact on existing lake users.”

But Chris Olsen wrote: “Despite what the (CYC) appear to think, they don’t own the lake and don’t get to decide who else uses it. So twice a week and during the holidays they use a part of the lake, which means the rest of the time they don’t. This will do the exact opposite of kill their businesses. I’m very much over the self-appointed nimby groups that think they should decide what happens or doesn’t around Canberra.”

Our poll question this week is:

Should seaplanes be allowed to land on West Basin?

View Results

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What is it with the NCA? They just can’t seem to get anything right. This is not the right location for such a disruptive, noisy and fossil fueled activity. Goodbye to an another piece of the regions beauty and amenity.

I complete many of the polls RiotAct present and am interested in the results. However, sometimes, I find it difficult to select the desired value because whilst my choice of YES or NO is clear, the blah blah blah at the end of the Yes/No choices make it difficult to respond. My response of Yes or No is generally not for the reason you suggest (and in some case, I may be actually opposed to your reason) and giving the only the choices of Yes because of blah.. or No because of blah blah – often – neither apply. So – do I vote based on a simple yes/no or do I have to invest in your blah blah blah – because generally, I don’t.

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