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.]


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Torrent of toxic Facebook posts after Mall melee
Mr Gunner would do well to remember that the last NT Chief Minister to lose control of the streets in Alice was Martin, and the Intervention followed. Turnbull might have a smoother smile, but he is cast in the same mold.
And Where’s Warren will again wring his hands and cry shame, but the only shame is that he is still there. Go Jacinta! I don’t know if you will be any more effective, but remember this: You cannot do worse.
Also, consider this: There has recently been a national Angst over all the kids in detention in the NT being Indigenous, but then think how many priors each of those kids had to have had before they finally earned detention.
CM Gunner’s answer to the collapse of Alice seems to be to ignore the clearly stated preference of the majority regarding the art gallery and to work with them, but to instead indulge in a swinging big-dick moment. He wants to get real while there is still an Alice to get real over.
And the TOs and their families and friends? To be honest, I think they are scared of their own children. Or perhaps they are scared of each other.
Either way, they sure as hell aren’t doing anything.


Some creatures in The Centre used to be big
So glad the Ducks of Doom feature. As soon as I get back to Alice I will visit.


At last, public will get a say on Anzac Oval: Town Council
It will be interesting to see if the results of Council’s survey are similar to those published today by our local print newspaper.
Over a two week period it conducted an online poll asking residents of Alice what they thought of plans to use Anzac Oval for an art gallery. The results are unambiguous: From a total of 988 votes, 32.4% said it was a good idea and 67.6% said it wasn’t.
As for the old high school, over to you, Alex Nelson.


Aboriginal-led ‘from the bottom up’: cultural centre
A National Indigenous Cultural Centre is arguably so much more important, nationally, locally, and indigenously(?), than another art gallery. I imagine it would include an important and pertinent section on the birth and development of the Central Australian art movement. This last point alone would obviate the need for a National Indigenous Art Gallery, especially given that all major cities and most of the smaller ones already have their own collection of Indigenous art.
As an aside, do we really imagine that the cities, both large and small, will strip out their own collections to further a gallery in Alice Springs? Will the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory be sending its rare and priceless collection south to Alice? Of course they won’t.
And for a National Indigenous Cultural Centre to be led and directed by local Indigenous voices, in consultation with other Indigenous voices from around Australia, is only right. Their culture, their land, their choice. Hopefully Gunner and Co will, this time, listen and learn.


Council code of conduct questions not answered in public
Well then, under the theory that where there’s smoke, there’s fire (fresh dung in the farmyard on a cold winter morning notwithstanding), it seems this issue is not going to go away. I do wonder if we’ll ever learn something.
That remains to be seen, given the beauty of Section 81(2C) quoted above. Unless I’m reading it wrong, this seems to say that disciplinary committee meetings are to be held in public unless the disciplinary committee doesn’t want them to. Now that’s a get-out-of-jail card if ever I saw one!
As often quoted in other contexts, “You can’t make this stuff up.”


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