I didn’t attend this meeting. Like most people, I’m sick …

Comment on Is the town over all the talk? by Alex Nelson.

I didn’t attend this meeting. Like most people, I’m sick to death of the incessant chatter and next to no resolution of all the problems we face. But another reason I didn’t attend last night’s forum is because I had to go to work at a local supermarket in the CBD.
I left my home in the Old Eastside and walked down a laneway at the rear of my address to Sturt Terrace, I crossed Wills Terrace along the bike path and then proceeded down an old bush track along the east bank of the Todd River. There were a number of Aboriginal people I encountered along the way, most had been drinking. They didn’t bother me, although one woman from Yuendumu greeted me and spoke about her home for a short while. I proceeded across the bed of the Todd River and onto the west bank opposite the ANZ carpark, along Parsons Street, through the Post Office and then to the Yeperenye Shopping Centre.
While I was at work filling shelves at Woolies, I was twice informed that my comments on ABC radio earlier that afternoon concerning media headlines (actually from almost 40 years ago, specifically November and December 1974) were mentioned at the public meeting.
I finished work just before midnight. I exited the Yeperenye Shopping Centre into Hartley Street and made my way back home exactly the way I had come in. The only people I saw were a few young backpackers at the YHA opposite the ANZ carpark.
That’s the way I go to and from work four nights per week. I’ve been taking this route (except for when the Todd flows) for more than two years.
Prior to that, when I was working at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, I walked or rode along the much-feared Todd River bank every morning and evening (frequently after dark) to and from work, from the time I shifted to my current address in February 2006. At no time has anyone threatened or bothered me. (There were a few occasions when camp dogs came snarling after me but I just stopped and calmed them down, and after awhile they didn’t bother me, too – but that was a few years ago, and the council rangers have long been on top of that problem).
But then again, 21 years ago when I was living at another address in the Old Eastside, I was walking home one evening on the Wills Terrace footbridge when I was approached by a jogger from behind who kinghit me in the face, breaking my nose, because he wanted to take my money. Too bad! I wasn’t carrying any!
A decade later, I was living at a friend’s place in Lindsay Avenue (south of Undoolya Road) and I had commenced working as a nightfiller at Woolies at that time, too. As usual, I walked to and from work at night. One night, about 12pm, I walked home to find police with torches doorknocking and searching for clues in the park opposite my residence. Turned out a young German woman had been abducted from the Wills Terrace causeway an hour or so earlier, dragged all the way to the park near my home and viciously beaten and raped. She had screamed for help but apparently nobody heard her; something I find very difficult to believe.
I was born in this town and grew up here; however, for most of the first half of my life I lived in the rural area south of town and never personally witnessed or experienced all this kind of crime and antisocial activity. Yet I can 100 percent guarantee that I can pick out editions of the newspaper randomly from anytime since the early 1970s and find stories about crime, alcohol abuse, petrol sniffing, police numbers (or lack thereof), truancy – you name it, it’s all there.
This town and region is classic Jekyll and Hyde, and the formula that has created this dichotomy is well known to us all – it’s called alcohol.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Why aren’t people listening to us? 
@ Kevin (Posted September 25, 2018 at 9:58 pm): It was the local rugby league that fought to stay at Anzac Oval in 1979-81 – in fact, it even attracted the support of national sports publication Rugby League Week which came in swinging against the Alice Springs Town Council.
The local ALP also fought to keep rugby league at Anzac Oval, especially John Reeves which enabled him to win a town council by-election and subsequently the federal election campaign as Member for the Northern Territory.
In the mid 1990s, rugby league agreed to move to Ross Park Oval where rugby union was based, too. However, after the town council elections of 1996 when two sitting aldermen lost their seats over this issue, the decision was swiftly reversed by the new council and rugby union went to Anzac Oval.
The Eastside Residents Association had strong support from local CLP members Richard Lim and Eric Poole. Lim organised a large public rally against the town council; and Poole, the Minister for Central Australian Affairs, declared that no funds from the NT Government would be made available to assist the town council’s plans.
The ALP Opposition Leader, Brian Ede, also supported the Eastside Residents Association in its dispute with the town council.


Why aren’t people listening to us? 
I attended the public rally held on the lawn outside the Civic Centre but initially wasn’t going to stay for the council meeting. I changed my mind and am glad I did, for a good deal of what I heard last night was a revelation to me.
My position on this issue is obvious but it was most reassuring to hear the strong opinions voiced by many people who made it clear and unequivocal that the NT Government – and whoever it is that has persuaded the government – has got this issue well and truly wrong.
This is the third attempt in four decades to repurpose the use of Anzac Oval as a “village green” cum open space, and relocate rugby to another oval.
Both previous attempts were made by the Alice Springs Town Council.
In 1979-81, rugby league was going to be moved to the new Head Street (Rhonda Diano) Oval; and in 1994-96 there was a protracted struggle between the town council and the Eastside Residents Association (of which I was a member) over relocating rugby league to Ross Park Oval.
On both occasions there was overwhelming public opposition to the town council’s plans, and the council lost.
Now it’s the turn of the NT Government attempting the same arrogant approach – well, all that the government has succeeded in doing is to stir up the hornets’ nest once more.
History convincingly shows how this struggle will end.


Preaching ‘treading carefully’ then sending in the bulldozers
@ Russell Grant (Posted September 24, 2018 at 11:00 pm): Quite so, Russell, and that area included the property of the Arid Zone Research Institute of which the area now occupied by Kilgariff was once a part.
The original dust control effort at AZRI was divided between the Soil Conservation Unit of the former Conservation Commission of the NT and the Institute’s farm management of the Primary Industry Branch/Department. It was the farm management of AZRI that undertook the dust control work in the southwest area of the property, including Kilgariff.
What’s happening there now is taxpayer-funded, government sanctioned vandalism on a grand scale that beggars anything we’ve seen (and criticised) for years on private rural properties.
The hypocrisy of contemporary NT government policy implementation is simply staggering.


‘Save Anzac Oval’ motion defeated
The current government continuously attempts to mask or deflect attention of its ineptitude by making constant reference to the previous CLP regime. It doesn’t wash – it’s just business as usual, regardless of which party is in power.
Right now there is significant evidence across the nation of most people fundamentally disillusioned with government at all levels, party politics, and (most worrisome) even with democracy. The behaviour we’re witnessing from the NT Government now (and from its predecessors) amply illustrates why this is happening.
Most people have had enough. Large numbers in parliament will not provide sufficient buffers against voter anger anymore.


Town planning farce: Lawler dodges the hard questions
This encounter instantly reminded me of a passage in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” when Winston Smith followed an old man into a pub with the intention of finding out from him what life was like before the revolution that led to the rise of Big Brother.
Yet no matter how earnestly he asked the old man to recall the early years of his life, “Winston had the feeling they were talking at cross-purposes.”
He kept on prodding the old man for information but “a sense of helplessness took hold of Winston. The old man’s memory was nothing but a rubbish-heap of details. One could question him all day without getting any real information.”
Plying the old man with beer, he tried one more time but failed: “Winston sat back against the window sill. It was no use going on. He was about to buy some more beer when the old man suddenly got up and shuffled rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. The extra half-litre was already working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two gazing at his empty glass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out into the street again.”
Welcome to the Big Brother reality of honest accountable government in the Northern Territory!


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