Letters of the week March 22, 2024

No shame in death

Dear Echo News,
I’m writing in response to Funeral parlour petition (Echo News, March 8) regarding the Wattle Grove residents petitioning to prevent a funeral parlour from going ahead in the Wattle Grove community.

This was of great interest to me, being a facilitator of a Death Cafe for the community, through Midland Library.
As someone who has had an irrational fear of death since I was a small child, and having decided to reflect and question these fears, it is evident and confirming the lack of death literacy within the community.

Yes, you read correctly, death literacy – it’s a thing.

It saddened me to read and feel the undertones, voiced by some of the Wattle Grove residents.

Death should not be seen, it is to be hidden, and not worthy of having a place in their community.

Somehow, I just can’t see how a chapel will be more pleasant in an industrial area.

We need to ask ourselves:

What is it that scares us about death?

Why do we not want our children to see it?

Why do bodies have to be ferreted through the back door, as if in shame?

Why do we not want to consider our dead as part of our community?

Death is a part of life and community is life.

I hope we can expand on our thinking and I have a feeling that the Wattle Grove community could do with a Death Cafe, where we can start having these conversations.

S Hope


Unused land burdens

Dear Echo News,

I own vacant land in Midland.

The dire state of the building industry has prevented me from developing it and on-selling it.

It is incredibly disappointing to see ‘wokist’ elements in the City of Swan whack us with this misguided tax without any community or industry consultation.

The profitability malaise in the building industry that has persisted for nearly 10 years, was greatly amplified by Covid, deters development, and is not fixed by punitive taxation.

No one is going to do a residential development if they cannot make a profit.

We are not greedy landholders banking our land and preventing development.

We have the right to buy land for our children’s future needs, we have the right to sit tight when market conditions prevent us from developing or selling and we have the right to invest and hold for the future.

The City of Swan does not have the right to trample on our choices.

From time of land purchase to occupancy is at least two to 2.5 years, so this pernicious tax will not result in short term housing supply.
If the city was really serious about addressing the housing shortage, it should look at the entire housing estate in its area, including land zoning and the mass of homes on Airbnb.

Taxing vacant landholders who are already conveniently identified in its data base is just a selfish money grab that kicks owners whose hands are tied by circumstances beyond their control.

M Zimmel


Root of the problem?

Dear Echo News,

The Kalamunda Council recently voted to rescind the local planning policy 33 – tree retention relating to retention of trees during planning and development processes; thereby giving developers and landowners the right to remove all trees in areas being developed.

This was despite the fact that Kalamunda ratepayers’ deputations were three times higher and asking to retain the policy.

This is also against Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) – of which the City of Kalamunda is a members who moved to protect trees on private land (as reported in LGAs move to protect mature urban trees on private land (Echo News, March 15)).

I can only wonder why and ask the council to publish the reasons behind their decision – which was against the request of the majority of ratepayers, against the city’s own tag line ‘a home in the forest’ and against WALGA recommendations.

I await with bated breath.

There are already too many streets in the City of Kalamunda with no or limited tree coverage, where temperatures in summer are several degrees higher than those streets where tree coverage is plentiful.

The City of Kalamunda should be retaining as many large growth trees as possible and planting more trees – rather than approving the destruction of whole areas – without any council overview or community approval.

Hang your heads in shame.

G England


Holy Saturday

Dear Echo News,

I’m writing to invite the community to a very special gathering at St Swithun’s Church, from 3pm – 4pm on Holy Saturday, March 30.

We will be ‘Flowering the Cross’ – an ancient and moving Christian tradition.

All are invited to come to the church and bring flowers that have personal significance, be they roses, bottlebrushes, or humble dandelions.

Together we will place these flowers upon the cross.

This will bring something of this place and its people, of Kalamunda and Lesmurdie, together upon the cross.

It will be an act of veneration and love for Jesus Christ, who on Holy Saturday lies in the tomb, and at the same time an act of hope: our hope in the new life to come, our hope in the resurrection, our hope as we wait for dawn.

Fr G Bowland
Anglican Parish of Kalamunda-Lesmurdie

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