It’s all smoke and mirrors right now. First there was …

Comment on Selling parks again on the agenda by Hal Duell.

It’s all smoke and mirrors right now. First there was a 2004 report circulated as part of the papers for September’s committee meetings (20.1 TS Agenda Item 9.6 – Parks Feasibility Study – attachment A.PDF), then there was a request for direction on whether or not to proceed with the redevelopment of Ashwin and Finlayson parks (20. TS Agenda Item 9.6 – Parks Feasibility Study report.PDF).
But is any of it current?
I think it’s fairly certain the this council wants to shed some of our parklands. I also think they owe us clarity on their proposals and a time for public comment and consultation.
Sooner or later we’ll get both the clarity and the public consultation, and then Council will sell some of our parklands. They have been angling for it for years, just as they have been angling to lose the sails in the Todd Mall.
Both are about to happen.
At least one of our officers knows how to play a long game.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Selling parks again on the agenda
A former alderman on the Alice Springs Town Council posed a question to me this evening.
Aren’t the parks in Alice Springs the property of the residents of Alice Springs, and if so, can Council legally sell them?
Any answers or opinions?


Selling parks again on the agenda
Fair enough Eli, and I will refrain from asking you any more specific questions outside of Question Time during Council meetings. It was a bit rhetorical anyway. I realise yours is but one vote of nine.
However, I do think your reply begs the question I did ask. If Council is managing our many parks on its current budget, why sell any?
I look forward to the debate and the public consultation.
The river is another matter, and I do hope Council finds the funds to slash the eastern bank. That’s where all the river fires have been this season, and the one at the end of the Taffy Pick Bridge cost us another Old-Man River Gum. Either that or get the firies to do some controlled burns.
An open spaces coordinator might not be a bad idea. Mike Gillam could be onto something workable here. If he/she were to work in with the community through an adopt-a-park program, or adopt-a-riverbank, and have it all overseen by Council, it might be surprising what help emerges.


Selling parks again on the agenda
I think there is now a case for a public meeting to discuss the future of our open spaces, and I would include in that both our parklands and our river. Clearly the management of our parklands within budget is proving a task beyond the current set-up, just as the recent fires on the east side of the Todd show what happens when an area escapes being slashed.
Both the river and the parklands are or have recognised sacred sites, but while the parks so designated are being mentioned for returning to the NT government for future management, I remember hearing Council reject the notion of similarly returning the river.
Perhaps it is time to consider an open spaces coordinator, but then I thought that was what Council was supposed to do as its day job. If a coordinator is appointed, I suggest one of his/her first tasks will be to clearly establish authority.
While the cited Draft Urban Open Space Assets Report is from 2004, the fifth paper under TS agenda Item 9.6 from the last committee meetings is current. Cr Booth is mentioned in it, and its Point E is a request for direction on whether or not to proceed with the redevelopment of Ashwin and Finlayson Parks. I understand a former Council decided against this redevelopment, but after three months (?) I believe Council can revisit a decision and go the other way.
I now have a specific question for Cr Melky, who has shown he is following this discussion. Does this Council plan to redevelop Ashwin and Finlayson parks?
And, finally, aside from selling the Gap’s children’s playground out from under their feet, what particularly galls me about the plans for Walmulla Park is that not so long ago I asked a senior Council officer if there were plans to sell that park. He looked me straight in the eye and said, No. He lied to me.
[ED – The Alice Springs News Online has sought comment from the council on these matters.]


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