Cr Paech: disappointed at council back flip

‘How can we make our town inclusive, with real shared space, not empty seats and empty footpaths?’

COMMENT by Cr CHANSEY PAECH

 

I am very disappointed at my colleagues’ decision to back away from having a trial period of skateboarding in the northern Todd Mall.

 

While I understood the concerns that had been raised, in the end it was skaters and young people in Alice Springs who were the losers.

 

Absolutely nothing in life is risk free and I strongly believe we shouldn’t be backing away from being a community that includes young people because we think they might hurt themselves doing physical activity.

 

I originally raised this issue because young people were being fined large amounts of money for doing what they and everyone else originally thought they could do – skate on furniture that was specifically designed for this purpose.

 

I reluctantly supported the motion to investigate the option for more skate facilities, mainly because I think it is important we talk and listen to what skateboarders and young people actually want.

 

For a councillor to sit in chambers and put forward their ideas on where people can skate and when and how seems ridiculous.

 

We need to actively consult skateboarders and young people about what they want, where they want it and how we can make our town inclusive, with real shared space, not empty seats and empty footpaths.

 

From what skaters have told me, they don’t want to be in a nice little box out of the way, out of sight.

 

As Rainer Chlanda put it so eloquently in [his article on this site] “the street is to skaters what the ocean is to surfers”.

 

I will continue to work with young people in Alice Springs, and of course the not so young, who want to work towards a more inclusive and welcoming community.

 

I will also be investigating how we can take a less punitive approach to punishing people who venture into the CBD without ID.

 

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12 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Ray
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Melanie, no problem showing ID to buy grog. I drove to the bottle shop and therefore have my licence with me.
    My problem was it led to an increase in property crime. If an authorised person asks me for ID (police, ranger etc) I have no choice but to show it, but to be fair to the youngsters, it should only be requested if they are breaching a by-law.
    Otherwise it’s just harassment. I don’t know about other cases, I was just commenting on the case that was mentioned in the AS News.

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  2. Melanie Ross
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Ray has no problems with people having to show their ID on demand to a ranger – coz Ray that’s what happens, even if you have never been aware of it. Go and have a chat with some of the young residents in our town.
    And since you have no problems with this I’m assuming you were in full support of showing your ID to buy alcohol?

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  3. Ray
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 1:57 am

    The comment about floor price was an observation made by a magistrate at a recent sentencing of a man charged with numerous alcohol related offenses.
    It was his comment that I was relaying, Bob. Magistrates deal with the fallout from grog every single day, and it was this magistrate who said that people must learn to take control of their own life by not coming into town just to get on the grog.
    He said that no matter what price was applied to grog people would still come to town to get it.
    I am contributing to a discussion in a public forum Bob, you may not like my opinion but I am entitled to have it. There are many problems caused by alcohol Bob, I have acknowledged that in my posts and understand it is a nation wide problem.
    I just don’t believe that a floor price would make a difference to people who are addicted, as they’ll still get the money from somewhere.
    As far as personal responsibility Bob, the same goes for smokers, gamblers etc.
    They won’t stop until they want to. Isn’t the first step of AA to get people to admit they have a problem? Isn’t that taking personal responsibility?
    I never said it would be easy, but let’s take the blinkers off, and look to other solutions, ones that may have a better chance of working.
    Seeing you getting so worked up and the personal insults aimed at me, not the topic, did give me a chuckle though, Bob.
    From the lethally predictable and terminally shy,
    Ray

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  4. Bob Durnan
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Still we have those who would emulate the much-maligned ostrich, such as your esteemed anonymous correspondent, the almost terminally shy and perennially incognito ‘Ray’ (Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm).
    With a lethal predictability, ‘Ray’ tries to kill all further discussion by recourse to an ancient ceremony-stopper, the prophecy handed down to him on a granite plaque he received when he graduated from the Readers’ Digest School of Narrow-vision Wisdom: “The change that is needed must come from within”.
    Oh how can we argue with that, ‘Ray’? The answer to all life’s challenges must rest, finally and completely, with the individual, mustn’t it?
    Society, governments, political parties, lobby groups, signed up members of Adam Giles’ core-social-valuing ‘drinking-to-be-true-Territorians’ tribe, and most of all, the manufacturers, advertisers and retailers of liquor, are all simple, meek, passive, innocent by-standers, bit players in the main game of life’s rich pageant, the festival of disconnected, splendidly isolated, absolutely atomised individual decisions, aren’t they ‘Ray’, walking in the sweet light of Ayn Rand’s mad self-centredness?
    To intimate that any of these alien observers may have some role in the outcome of the alcohol game is somehow reprehensible, isn’t it ‘Ray’? So those that drink to excess are buying their own tickets. The fifteen year old lying drunk beyond all consciousness for the first time in a doorway on Todd Mall has actively courted the addiction, beatings and rape. Nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with anybody else, is it ‘Ray’?
    The pillar of ‘Ray’s’ simple faith is an ancient dogma of the dodos: “I can’t agree that a floor price will work, as no matter what the cost, the problem drinkers will get it. It’s the problem drinkers who have no respect for money that will pay whatever price it is.” Oh yes, ‘Ray’, those ‘problem drinkers’ with their magic puddin’ deep pockets, they’re the ones to blame. Nothing can overcome their will to self-destruct, can it? They are able to spin moolah out of the ether, using their secret voodoo chants and concealed fetish objects.
    The fact that many of them would drink less if a floor price were to be introduced is of absolutely no significance to Mr ‘Ray’, because ‘Ray’, bless his cotton pickin’ little socks, knows more than all the medical and health experts on the face of this earth combined, and is worried that his own plonk will cost a few cents more per glass.
    Poor ‘Ray’. Poor us. Poor 15 year olds, on their way down the grog chute that has been greased by the selfishness of the ‘Rays’ of this world.

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  5. Bob Durnan
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Chansey Paech’s commitment to inclusiveness is exactly what is needed in civic leaders in central Australia. We have strong anti-inclusive forces operating in our town, and we need constant commitment, from those who are able to understand the bigger picture, to continually reinforce integrative measures in every way possible.
    Some of those measures are ably alluded to by Russell Guy (Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:56 am) in his latest excellent epistle on the issue of alcohol and its associated problems. Russell’s message (the need to ease back on the alcohol taps whilst ramping up the education, prevention and rehabilitation mains) is perfect in its logic.
    Thank you for taking the trouble to write, Chansey and Russell.

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  6. russell guy
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:45 am

    @ Ray.
    When I was seventeen in Qld, the legal age to consume alcohol was 21, but I was served in a back bar and became alcoholic, so you are essentially right in saying that some people will obtain alcohol regardless, but the point now (40 years later) is that take-away outlets have proliferated, the alcohol industry is more agrressive in marketing and introducing new product, that a floor price is considered one of several effective levers in reducing supply.
    The alcohol reform focus is shifting towards children growing up into an alcohol-saturated environment and as I read your concern for your children, I hope that you can see some benefit in the introduction of a floor price to help combat the exponential growth on the grog front.
    Australia is considered to be at the high end of alcohol consumption and we have this window, this momemtum occurring nationally to make government at all levels, accountable for an industry that self-regulates.

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  7. Ray
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    I agree Russell (that’s not a typo), a very tough challenge. I can’t agree that a floor price will work, as no matter what the cost, the problem drinkers will get it. A large population in town are very social, they are educated and mostly grow out of the blotto every weekend phase eventually as they mature, get a family, a mortgage and maybe have kids. It’s the problem drinkers who have no respect for money, that will pay whatever price it is. They are the ones going to Servos and IGAs etc getting a bottle of Fanta (must be healthy because it’s orange) and chips and gravy for their kids’ breakfast. Why aren’t they in school? We are heading for the under educated diabetic generation once again. Unfortunately grog plays a massive part in this. I see it every day.

    A blanket approach that punishes (as artificially inflated prices) those who can drink sensibly, and work hard to pay for it through their productiveness, will be one of the biggest hurdles. That’s the demographic I consider myself a part of.

    I had got used to the BDR and never had problems showing my ID. I didn’t like saying where I was going to drink it, especially when buying for a few mates as well. We just need to accept the fact that crime will probably go up as a result, as we saw when it was in. Plan for that, get them help and we might have a chance. It’s not just in public, mates of mine are in fear when the neighbors in public housing are partying, and fighting and screaming and damaging property and walking up and down the street looking to fight anybody.

    The change that is needed must come from within, and keep on thinking about other ideas that may work.

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  8. Russell Guy
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 10:56 am

    @ Ray. posted 17 November.
    You note that the person was “passed out in an alcoholic stupour” and ask “What is the answer?”
    It’s one thing to focus on the individual, but it’s a disproportionate focus when you consider what the alcohol industry is allowed to get away with right under our adult noses.
    The focus on early childhood intervention was a position chosen by Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross back in the 1980s when they established a theatrette and invited schools to tour, examining a perspex model of the human body, depicting the damage to various organs caused by drug addiction, including alcohol.
    A recent obituary on Lou Reed, noted that he consumed whisky by the bottle for years. Reed had a liver transplant and passed away recently at 71.
    Indigenous social workers currently enjoying a university scholarship re-enter their substance-abuse damaged communities with skills, but they still have to confront an expansionary-minded alcohol industry.
    Sort of makes education at odds with intelligence, don’t you think?
    Some commentators recommend changing the culture, but Senator Scullion is reportedly ready to sign Alcohol Management Plans (AMP) on remote communities, so changing the culture is contentious, as it is in non-indigenous controlled Australia.
    Getting on the “piss” is the binge of preference for the core culture encouraged by the present Chief Minister.
    Taking further action to stem the rivers of grog that flow from the take-away alcohol culture goes against having a license to print money, no matter the high cost to all taxpayers and individual livers.
    The dismantling of the BDR was a political exercise to appease the alcohol industry.
    To change the culture means going against the current. The alternative is to go down the river.
    I feel like I’m writing a novel, but the bloated corpses lying in the mall are nothing new.

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  9. Ray
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Steve, I only get called Raymond by my mother when I am in trouble! I used to think it was a bit of an eyesore as well, until I went to southbank in Brisbane and saw lots and lots of people lying on the grass, sleeping in public etc. Didn’t realize it happened in the big cities as well. I had to ask myself a serious question, was I offended here in the Alice simply because of the race of people doing it, as in Brisbane, is was people of all nationalities. I really made me think a bit about my preconceived ideas. Is one right and the other wrong/ I don’t know, but in Brisbane it seemed that people were resting/sleeping relaxing. Not passed out in an alcoholic stupor. What is the answer?? Beats me!

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  10. Sensible Steve
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Raymond, yesterday with 2 German tourists we saw what the Mall was designed for…….a woman was having a kip in front of a bank at lunchtime on the ground….this event was photographed by the tourists. POSITIVELY ALICE.

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  11. Terry
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    @Ray
    Good post.
    It makes one wonder if the good Councillor was not simply giving us his knee jerk reaction, as he does not appear to have given too much thought to his statement, does he?

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  12. Ray
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Chancey, let’s not distort the issue here, at no time has a young person (as far as I know) been fined for “venturing into the CBD without ID”.
    A young person or anybody does not get fined for venturing into the CBD without ID, they can only be asked to produce ID if they have broken a by-law. So really it is pretty simple, don’t ride a bike or skateboard where it is not permitted, and when a person in authority requests ID, show them, don’t argue.
    It was not a case of the young skater not having ID, because he was able to produce it when the Police turned up. What would be really helpful from you as a councillor, would be to ensure that the Ranger’s side of the story could have been told. Two sides to every story. We are a very inclusive town, all people are welcome in the CBD, we just want to minimize the chances of an accident occurring.
    I am not concerned about an accident occurring and a skater getting injured (your words), that’s part and parcel of the sport, my concern is a skater losing control of their board and injuring somebody else, who is enjoying the Mall for what it is designed for.
    Finally, the analogy about the street for skaters is the ocean to surfers, do you ever wonder why surfboards are not allowed between the flags?

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