Council: Town plan, youth buckpassing, statue, waffling

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The Town Council has had no notification from politicians, nor from the public service, that a new town plan is being drawn up for Alice Springs, as disclosed by the Alice Springs News Online, but the councillors are clearly pleased it’s happening.

 

The issue was raised by Cr Chansey Paech at Monday’s meeting. He said close cooperation between the council and the government would need to be formalised.

 

Council CEO Rex Mooney said to date there had been no contact from the Minister nor the bureaucracy.
 He said the Darwin draft town plan made public last week had been funded jointly by the NT and Federal governments.
 There is a “real need” for a new Alice plan.

 

Mayor Damien Ryan said he is expecting to hear from Lands, Planning and Environment Minister Peter Chandler.

 

• • •

 

It seems the Freemasons have turned their backs on the John McDouall Stuart statue but the council will erect it anyway.

 

Mr Mooney told the meeting that he had made a “fair and reasonable effort” to communicate with the Freemasons, who gifted the statue to the council, but he had not received a reply.

 

The Freemasons would have been welcome to address the council but that hadn’t happened either.

 

The statue will now be placed in the Stuart Park, “at the site approved by the Heritage Committee,” near the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Reptile Centre.

 

The Freemasons’ initial offer was to pay for the installation but now the council will be up for $73,000.

 

• • •

 

Cr Jade Kudrenko was scathing in her account of the government dealings with services for young people, and its dealings with the council on the issue.

 

She said she was “disappointed” about a letter from Minister for Children and Families John Elferink, the latest in a saga of buck passing that has now gone on for a year.

 

There are still no “effective responses to antisocial behaviour. Young people are not cared for adequately” as the “management of law and order issues and child protection is lost in translation” and are “not addressed by this council nor the NT Government,” said Cr Kudrenko.

 

The government had passed the buck from Ministers Robyn Lambley to Alison Anderson to Mr Elferink and it now appears to be heading to Matt Conlan.
 She said there needs to be “actual discussion, a talk about the issues”.

 

Mayor Ryan said the original plan had been to have a meeting with the Minister responsible but “we never got it”.

 

Cr Paech said the Youth Hub and other services were a matter of urgency. The issue had been “handballed a dozen times”.

 

The council decided to – yet again – request a meeting.

 

• • •

 

Discussion about bike storage facilities in the CBD was hampered by a lack of knowledge of what exactly they are.

 

The idea is to entice people to ride their pushies to the CDB, lock them up in such a facility, and from there walk to work.
 Four are proposed but it’s likely only one will be built to begin with, at a cost of $10,000, so that its acceptance by the public can be gauged, as Cr Kylie Bonanni suggested.

 

What’s the storage capacity, queried Cr Paech. 
Cr Dave Douglas requested a photograph.
 Where should they be put, asked Cr Brendan Heenan.

 

Cr Kudrenko suggested there may be “more strategic” ways of spending $40,000 in the council’s bid to encourage bike riding.

 

Cr Eli Melky wondered if bike riders would be breaking the law making their way from the roadway across the footpath to a bike storage facility.
 The matter was deferred to the next meeting.

 

• • •

 

Cr Melky tried to revisit an issue over which he lost his cool at the last meeting – but got short shrift from the CEO.

 

Meeting procedure has now been introduced to avoid dragging out meetings with prolonged questioning of staff (who could give the answers outside the meetings), or introducing matters without merit – practices in which Cr Melky is a repeat offender.

 

He was told councilors will at the start of the meeting have one minute to signal matters not on the agenda they want discussed.
 They would have two minutes later in the meeting to expand on the subjects.

 

However, further discussion would require a seconder – in the absence of which the “issue dies”.
 Mr Mooney said it had been confirmed that the procedure was in keeping with local government legislation.

 

Crs Bonanni and Heenan spoke in support of Mr Mooney.
 Cr Melky said he would “run with the majority”.

 

• • •

 

Cr Kudrenko queried whether a template traffic management plan could be drawn up to avoid excessive costs to community organisations holding parades through the town.

 

The meeting was told having to submit plans is a “curse” but Mayor Ryan said it’s not the council that mandates plans, inferring it is the NT Government that does. 
A decision was deferred to the next meeting.

 

• • •

 

The council decided to subsidise to the tune of $10,000 a Tourism Central Australia project to film interviews with local characters aka the “Central Australia True Characters Campaign”.

 

TCA had initially asked for $30,000. 
Cr Kudrenko favoured $10,000, saying the project’s timing was good and The Centre needed promotion.

 

Cr Heenan said he could see no benefit and none was outlined in the submission. 
Crs Paech and Douglas took the view that the project would attract people to Central Australia, without giving details about how that would occur.

 

Cr Brown favoured a $10,000 contribution, and Cr Liz Martin said the project would boost the self-drive market and is essential for the economy.

 

Director Corporate and Community Services Craig Catchlove said a $10,000 grant would clean out the council’s budget for tourism promotion.
 The decision was to spend $10,000.

 

PHOTOS: A swing (at top) for disabled children will be installed in a park, and the council is powerless on exorbitant traffic management costs which are threatening the future of community parades, such as the Bangtail Muster (below).

 

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2 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. Janet Brown
    Posted March 1, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Darwin has a disability swing as pictured in one of the free water parks. That picture should have been used to ensure all Alice Springs residents know that we are high on the finance list for Darwin spending.

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  2. Richard Bentley
    Posted February 25, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    It is pleasing to hear the council discussing bicycle parking. I am aware that locked bicycles have been stolen and that top quality locks are required to secure bicycles if they are not in secure storage. Bicycle retailers should be able to advise on the most effective locking mechanisms.
    However, I would support expansion of existing bicycle parking at high use locations, such as Yepernye Shopping Centre and the provision of parking at locations where there is no dedicated parking such as Montes and Club East Side. This would be a higher priority than secure storage and do more to encourage cycling in the town.

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