Probing the Polls: wondering about water restrictions and arguing about Summernats

Genevieve Jacobs 16 December 2019 17
Burnout Zone at Summernats 31

The Burnout Zone at Summernats 31. Photo: Peter Norton, Epic Sports Photography.

In one of the larger results across our informal polling, RiotACT readers voted strongly for permanent water restrictions as the drought bites harder and deeper.

ICON Water has asked all locals to take care of our water supply, with news that our supplies are at 52 per cent capacity with record low inflows and no major rain in sight.

Despite the major expansion works on the Cotter Dam and assurances that the city’s supply would be safe for decades, our water supplies are dipping below 50 per cent during an exceptionally dry year. Without significant rain, it’s likely that Canberra will face water restrictions by late next year.

Across the region, Bungendore and Braidwood are both experiencing restrictions now. The Shoalhaven River is no longer flowing and Braidwood is now moving to Stage Three restrictions.

Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council has stopped grading roads because it cannot justify the water use demands, and while Bungendore residents are currently on Stage One, there are also concerns for their supply from bores through broken rock.

While water conservation measures are a permanent fixture, we wondered whether Canberra should follow the lead of Perth, where there are permanent sprinkler bans during winter months and regulations around garden watering at all times.

Our question was: Canberrans are being urged to conserve water as the drought deepens. Should we have permanent water restrictions like Perth does?

The poll received 615 votes. Your options were Yes, even when it rains again we need to be more careful. This received 440 votes, or 72 per cent of the total.

Alternatively, you could vote No, that’s an alarmist reaction to the current situation. This option received 175 votes, or 28 per cent of the total.

This week, we’re wondering what you think about Summernats. Senior journalist Ian Bushnell wrote a polarising piece about the future of the annual event, arguing that organisers need to dump the annual burnouts orgy, adding that “the last thing they should be pushing for is a drag strip”.

Pointing to the impact of noise and fumes on residents of the Inner North, he said that other EPIC stakeholders including the Canberra Show and the National Folk Festival have seen off possible Government ideas about residential development and now the site is seen as a long-term, high-quality events precinct.

“Where does a festival with enough of a streak of hoonery left in it to view the burnouts competition as the weekend highlight fit into that future model?”, he asked.

Readers had a variety of response to this suggestion, ranging from the succinct to the unprintable.

There were references aplenty to “snowflakes”. Aiden said “Yeah ok scrap it or change the whole thing to your nan driving around in a Camry at 15 k’s an hour and give people even less of a reason to travel to Canberra”, while Russell said “Laughable….. and I don’t even attend”.

Commenters like Paulmuster were in the minority, saying “Sorry Summernatters – your pollution festival is not worth the busted-up rubber you leave in our national parks every other weekend of the year. Maybe try something less destructive to the planet, local air quality, your health and residents – those things need to be met before anybody cares about your ‘good for the economy’ armchair arguments”.

What do you think?

Does Summernats need to change?

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17 Responses to Probing the Polls: wondering about water restrictions and arguing about Summernats
John Edwards John Edwards 8:54 pm 22 Dec 19

Mmmmmmmm - now where is the criteria against which all residents can assess whether Nats is a good fit for the Canberra community.

Ryan Strayan Jojo Lavender Ryan Strayan Jojo Lavender 8:11 pm 19 Dec 19

Why do some people feel like they have the right to take away other people's bit of fun just because they don't like it?

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 10:26 pm 17 Dec 19

What exactly is the ‘Canberra community’? We’re made up of people from diverse backgrounds, cultural, geographic and political. Some people are going to love Summernats, some will hate it, the majority will be, meh!

Let’s not forget a lot of people who attend Summernats come from outside Canberra and bring in much needed revenue.

Jay Annabel Jay Annabel 10:18 pm 17 Dec 19

This is a great read while I'm trying not to choke to death

Lynne Staunton Lynne Staunton 9:36 pm 17 Dec 19

Canberra is already on permanent stage 1 water restrictions and have been since the time we ran low of water.

Viraji WM Viraji WM 8:34 pm 17 Dec 19

Matthew Blayden - Sunmernats poll is still open

Futureproof Futureproof 6:46 pm 17 Dec 19

I’m for water restrictions as long as ACTEW (whatever they’re called this week) don’t raise prices when people use less water, using the excuse that their profit margins are reduced. I have a long memory from last time

John Scheltus John Scheltus 6:40 pm 17 Dec 19

I lived in Canberra for 31 years. Loved the parade with dolled up vehicles on Northbourne, and judgements. The burn outs and donut performances are an expression of dubious characters. This has to change imo. These guys can cause terrible problems on our roads. It’s already happening in Mitchell. Screeching, swaying and near misses. There are many pedestrians here due to many retail stores. Where t f are the police?

    Stephen Dent Stephen Dent 8:30 pm 17 Dec 19

    John Scheltus The major problem is the CO2 emissions. From now on all summer at cars should be fully electric cars only.

    Ryan Mallard Ryan Mallard 5:09 pm 20 Dec 19

    Stephen Dent HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA, who are you to impose your will on others? Bet you don't even practice what you preach. Besides, even if you did, your electric car is full of oil. The grease to lubricate moving parts. The oil that makes all the plastic. Ya, electric car owners think they're saving the world, when it's only just a smudge better in only one aspect of vehicle.

    What about golf courses? One of the biggest users of pesticides, fertilisers and water around. The scarcity of water is of higher importance than co2.

    Bryce Lenarčič Bryce Lenarčič 7:57 pm 24 Dec 19

    Stephen Dent The emissions of personal vehicles are tiny compared to that of industry. Most CO2 emissions are from industry, most ocean plastic is discarded commercial fishing nets; any marketing that suggests otherwise is a deliberate attempt to shift focus from pollution by the ruling class to pollution by the working class.

    Those cars no matter how hard they smash the rev limiter, or how rich they run, will be a miniscule drop in an ocean compared to the environmental damage that corporations continue to get away with.

    Again, performative environmentalism in marketing is a deliberate diversion from the damage done by the bourgeoisie. I cannot stress this enough

Rod Ferguson Rod Ferguson 6:28 pm 17 Dec 19

The good old canberra greenies and labor will be blaming the tyre smoke on climate change too

Rod Ferguson Rod Ferguson 6:26 pm 17 Dec 19

God not more smoke lol

Bill Dengate Bill Dengate 4:29 pm 17 Dec 19

Seems the non vocal minority are in front on this one!.........again.

Darren Baker Darren Baker 4:23 pm 17 Dec 19

Well said mate

Shan Weereratne Shan Weereratne 12:42 am 17 Dec 19

Just keep it as it is. Leave town for the weekend If you don't like it.

Karen Joy Stone Nowak Karen Joy Stone Nowak 9:24 pm 16 Dec 19

Think of the bright side, there's often torrential rain on Summernats weekend. Maybe the same will happen this year??? 🙂

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