I hope that if Mr Buxton is responsible for releasing …

Comment on Officers a leap ahead of councillors on parks by Hal Duell.

I hope that if Mr Buxton is responsible for releasing the 2004 Draft Urban Open Space Assets Report, he comes in for a commendation, not a condemnation.
Consider the wealth of information it contains relating to how Council views the parklands in Alice Springs and their responsibility for them. None of that information needs to be kept secret. There is far too much of that in Council’s dealings with the rest of us.
I have long suspected that that reliance on confidentiality is, more than anything else, a method of maintaining unaccountable executive control over the workings of what is our third tier of elected government. The bureaucrats are not the bosses, although I suspect they might think otherwise.
Far better to get these reports out into the public realm, especially after they have been considered and either adopted or, as is the case here, rejected. Then we can all have a read and, where clearly called for, offer corrections. Such as referring to Walmulla Park as being of no use and of no possible use when it is used all the time.
It is also instructive to know that Ashwin and Finlayson parks were to be redeveloped, not sold, and that the public space within each was to be consolidated, not shrunk to a fraction of what each was. This terminology was considered advisable so as not to alarm the near-by residents who were known to be vocal. Kept secret, such thinking can only be considered sneaky.
I think something similar was (is?) considered for Oleander Park, a (re)development clearly not to the liking of some of its more vocal neighbours.
It is also instructive to learn that some “parks” are hilltops or drains or blocks with a sacred site on them. Clearly Council can do little with such blocks in the way of offering a viable public park, and perhaps they could be sold or otherwise taken off Council’s books.
And perhaps Council can be more vigilant in the future to ensure developers don’t off-load unusable blocks when complying with their obligations to provide open space in any new development.
We have a right to know these things, to know in advance what Council is considering. Public consultation is all well and good, but there is no obligation that I am aware of compelling Council to take more than a passing glance at what may come out of any such consultation.
If Council were to bite the bullet, and this current Council might just be the one to do this, and allow us the electorate greater access into their deliberations, they just might find more support and more understanding and more respect for what they are doing.
Governments across Australia and the world are on the nose these days, and a lack of trust lies at the heart of that. We elect them to act for us, not to lecture us from behind a curtain of confidentiality.

Recent Comments by Hal Duell

The gallery drama: Will there be a happy ending?
There is something profoundly sad about taking the idea of a National Indigenous Art Gallery and using it to increase the sale of trashy, probably China-sourced tourist baubles (and short-blacks).
There is emerging an impression that this whole issue has degenerated into an exercise in political clickbait. Not real pretty at all!


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.


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