I completely agree with Ian and Trevor. These are all …

Comment on LETTER: Scrapping of educational facility by Alex Nelson.

I completely agree with Ian and Trevor. These are all incredibly short-sighted decisions made by governments with no genuine capacity for responsible decision-making.
I’m a lifetime resident of Alice Springs (nearly 50 years); moreover, I grew up at the Arid Zone Research Institute and at the former CSIRO field station (now Centre for Appropriate Technology) next door – our family were the first residents there.
I also worked at AZRI for many years, including in horticulture research under Frank McEllister.
With the exception of my father, I have the longest continuous connection with that area of land of any person living; and I personally worked on a CSIRO project that was conducted on the exact site that is now being developed as the suburb of Kilgariff. I hold the decision to proceed with the development of Kilgariff as easily the worst planning decision in the history of Alice Springs – it is an utterly abominable project.
Strangely, with all my long connection to this area you would think local planners, decision-makers and the media would have taken the opportunity to find out what my experience and concerns would be. Not a bit of it!
The only people to contact me were consultants from interstate, who admitted to me they were effectively mislead by the NT Government and that the whole process of “public consultation” was effectively an exercise of window-dressing the NT Government’s decision to proceed with this reckless project.
This isn’t the first prospective rural land development near Alice Springs to commence with the initial infrastructure of water and power. In 1997/98 I was residing 30km west of town on the Iwupataka Aboriginal Land Trust when ATSIC spent several million dollars of taxpayers’ money to construct a water pipeline to ostensibly service a few families living in this area.
This development coincided with the Reeves Report under the Howard federal government that recommended changing inalienable Aboriginal freehold title to ordinary freehold. That pipeline has the capacity to service a population of 6000.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

‘Bring back school based constables’
Oh, I don’t know about that, Evelynne – I recall there were a lot of ratbags during my time at school, and quite a number of them were the students 😉

‘Bring back school based constables’
@ Phil Walcott (Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm): Interesting comment, Phil, because when I was a student at the Alice Springs High School in the late 1970s there was a school counsellor employed there. Her name was Glynnis McMahon, if my memory serves me right, a highly regarded person who worked at the high school for many years.
She passed away in 1989 as I recall, and maybe wasn’t replaced at a time of increasing budgetary constraint. That’s speculative on my part but given you arrived here in 1993 not long after massive cutbacks to public expenditure including significant attrition of staff positions, that’s probably the reason there were apparently no school counsellors employed here by that time.

Federal study casts light on future source of town water
Our family visited the Rocky Hill lucerne operation in the early 1970s when an open day for the public was held there. It continued to operate throughout the 1970s but was long abandoned by the mid 1980s.
I still have in my possession the Primary Industry flow charts for the development of the horticulture industry in Central Australia from the mid 1980s onwards, courtesy of permission from then Horticulture Senior Technical Officer, Frank McEllister.
One aspect stood out for me, there was no mention of potential horticulture development at Rocky Hill.
I inquired of this with Frank, and he told me that area was excluded from consideration because it was reserved as the future water supply for Alice Springs.
This was at a time when it was still expected the town’s population would reach 50,000 by the turn of the century and the NT Government had officially announced the development of a satellite town on Undoolya Station would proceed.
All of this is now forgotten but history always comes back to bite us in the end.

Cops hush up dangerous joyride
I witnessed a similar incident that evening too, which I think was the same vehicle.
I was walking on the footpath next to the ANZ Bank along Parsons Street when this utility came screeching around the corner from Todd Street and raced towards the Leichhardt Terrace intersection.
The utility turned left and charged up towards Wills Terrace where I lost sight of it.
When I got to the corner of Leichhardt Terrace, I observed the utility speeding over the Wills Terrace Causeway where it spun around the Sturt Terrace roundabout, tyres screeching, and then charged back along the causeway onto Wills Terrace past the Todd Tavern, when I again lost sight of it.
Despite being a block away from most of the action I witnessed, I had no difficulty hearing the young hooligans yelling and shouting. They were clearly defiant and rebellious, and deliberately challenging authorities.
Presumably they felt they had nothing to lose by indulging in this behaviour and were heedless of the possible consequences of their actions.

A good spot for the art gallery?
Hal, this is just the latest attempt to re-purpose Anzac Oval as a village green, first proposed by the Alice Springs Town Council in 1979 and firmly resisted by the rugby codes (and especially by John Reeves, then ALP Alice Springs branch president, rugby league president, elected as alderman on the town council, and not long afterwards elected as Member for the Northern Territory. He is now a Federal Court judge.).
The village green concept was tried again in 1994 when the ASTC attempted to relocate the rugby codes to the Ross Park Oval, enticed there by the promise of lighting to facilitate games at night; and stoutly resisted and defeated by local Eastside residents, led by the Eastside Residents’ Association of which I was then a committee member.
And now here we go again …
Quite apart from the old high school complex, Anzac Oval itself is of considerable historical value as it is the first turfed sports oval in the NT and it was established entirely as a community effort over the summer of 1951-52 – no government assistance involved.
Part of that work was done by the town’s children who were organised by the new Youth Centre into an emu parade on one weekend that cleared the whole area of rocks and sticks.
Ah yes, the bad old days of Commonwealth control.

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