Oh yeah, within 20 years, 15% of 4,500 new dwellings …

Comment on Darwin to get cheap housing but Alice not yet by Maya Cifali.

Oh yeah, within 20 years, 15% of 4,500 new dwellings will be ear-marked as “affordable” housing: this is a mere 675 if my maths are correct. The other 3,825 will be available at commercial / market value. I insist “within 20 years”. In the meantime Alice accommodation deficit remains in crisis and the Melanka block is still vacant! And who are they, those who may be willing to live in “Kilgariff” and commute to work and could afford it? Where does the figure of 15% of 4,500 for “affordable housing” come from? Why not 50-60-70% thus shorten the waiting list for public housing? Government and developers may find themselves with an even larger problem if and when some of the 3,825 new dwellings remain with the “for sale” sign for lack of buyers.
Whether the NT government likes it or not, Alice Springs is and remains a “regional and remote” (not even “rural”) centre servicing the large Centralian region. The major part of its permanent or transient population are public servants (the scores of xxx@nt.gov.au). Its Indigenous population is increasing and will require even more than today decent and affordable accommodation, schooling facilities and jobs. I am not sure that Kilgariff + AZRI will answer this need.
The tourists want the exotism of a Town like Alice: suburbia has never attracted tourism.
What is sure is that for the time being, it is Darwin that receives all the attention (and funding) and in the meantime Alice-Town is slowly loosing its population and small businesses are closing down and move away. What could be the attraction of the Centre to promote a sudden increase of population – unless the US military to be stationed in Darwin expand 1,500kms south? Would Power and Water supply be able to cover the consumption of 4,500 additional dwellings? They talk of dwellings, not individuals … so many un-answered questions.
I may lack vision – but my 26 years in Alice tell me that we better keep it simple and focus on the revival of our township as expressed in the public consultations held in 2010-11 without waiting for Darwin to come good within 20 years.

Recent Comments by Maya Cifali

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Great achievement, wonderful outcome, and good article explaining it all. Thank you.


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Goodn’u Bob – your voluntary (and perhaps risky) work between 8pm and 12 midnight is certainly above and beyond what your “generous salary” is asking you to do.


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Happy for Michael Denon-Ross.
But where did he go with his Renault between 8 and 22 July without notifying any one? To the extent that the police was worried, too?
A detail: In your first report who is Alexis? Or was it to be Michael as in the second episode? The 2 pictures above, are they really of the same man? Life out bush makes you age very fast, without doubt.


Yaye’s Café at Araluen to close tomorrow
Sad … Yaye’s was such a nice venue and offered good food.
I can only assume negative economic outcomes are the trigger that have led to the closure of a seemingly successful cafe-restaurant attached to the best tourist attraction of our town.
We used to have Witchetty’s at Araluen, it had to close down. We had Matilda at the Desert Park, it had to close down. Even the current cafe of the Desert Park, in full high season, cannot operate from 8.30am to 4pm as advertised and offers warmed up frozen pies and white bread sandwiches in plastic containers for lunch. Very disappointing.
Basic accounting will tell to reduce expenses and increase revenue. Are the operators too greedy? Is the rental too high? Loaded tourist coaches seem to by-pass Araluen Arts Centre and give priority to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
If and when the Aboriginal Arts and Culture project eventuates, will the number of tourists to share among the many attractions increase enough to provide patronage to all cafes?
A thorough feasibility study by the Tourism Central Australia (chaired by Ms Dale McIver who recently appeared on QandA) may provide an answer before jumping into any new venture.


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Great new use of the railways workers premises which remained vacant for such a long time. Great ideas too. It remains to see if the street kids will adopt them as their “Bring the camel to water, will he drink?”


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