Can I suggest again that planners recognize the limitations placed …

Comment on The West MacDonnell Ranges start at the council dump by Trevor Shiell.

Can I suggest again that planners recognize the limitations placed on the town by The Gap.
If we want the town to be a tourism hub let’s do it and follow the Hahndorf model. Like many things of German origin, they do it so well.
But we continue to try to make the town a replica of the worst of city outskirts and base it around motor transport and high rise apartment.
If traffic is such an issue help the Show Society and make that park a daily car park to ferry consumers via shuttle buses into the CBD where the business is, at say 15 min intervals.
But that’s probably pie in the sky when train passengers have to walk in to the CBD, or to their lodgings with bags, because no one offers them a ride.
I don’t think we really want them or their custom here or we would be offering better than that.
The still obvious solution is to dedicate the strip of road from the Adelaide turn off to The Gap as a tourism precinct just as Hahndorf has done, shift the refuse facility and sewerage well to the south where the infrastructure is already in place, and create a series or foot based recreational facilities west and south of The Gap, with a new commercial entity near Brewer.
I did a very basic traffic survey in that area late last year and estimate around 400 vehicles take people to employment in the area south of The Gap each day.
Can I ask the council or government to conduct a more thorough survey? There was one done several years ago, and the results of that are still available.
I also counted over 100 people stopping to have their photos taken at the rock in a single morning in May 2015. The implications of this are so obvious to everyone but the planners.
Either we are a tourism town or we are not. And of the comments I hear from visitors from Anzac Hill on the courthouse would make the hairs on your neck curl, if only they could see the sunset through the vegetation so conveniently planted in front of the viewing area!
On the positive side, it is good to hear of plans to develop horticultural enterprises at what is left of AZRI. It has been frequently pointed out that the opportunity cost of Kilfgarif will be extremely high in the loss of promotional opportunities to attract investment to create employment here.
That whole strip should have been a blatant advertisement for what is possible here in the way particularly of food production to attract investment and consequent jobs.
We import around 50,000 tonnes of carob into Australia per year. Yet they grow like weeds in Gillen. Pomegranates are yet another example. The possibility of recycling waste water as Israel has been doing for years in a desert – there should be no such thing as waste water.
This should be something to advertise, as should the Indigenous medical production hidden at the rear. This housing development was a major blunder in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons, but something may yet be salvaged.
I well remember a Frank Sinatra film of a long time ago which started with this little poem:
He who whispers down the well
About the thing he has to sell
Will never make as many dollars
As he who climbs the tree and hollers.
This is the mantra of the real estate and developers, and there are lessons here for the rest of us.
We have unique tourism and lifestyle things here. We don’t need to hide them behind high rise and car parks.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Human rights, centre stage
Many years ago the then Human Rights Commissioner Dame Roma Mitchell visited Alice and spoke to school groups on human rights. At the end I asked her to also talk on human responsibilities. It didn’t happen. There must be a balance somewhere?


Top committee grapples with tourism development in the North
Any business that presumes to know what the market wants is doomed to fail.
That has happened here. No one to my knowledge talks to the visitors as they arrive or as they leave and what we have is thrust upon them.
I do that on a regular basis both on Anzac Hill, and at the welcome rock south of Alice and suggest that someone from the tourism industry do the same.
A couple of examples, which have been passed on to various people but ignored.
Several years ago the well known “Australia all over” programme canvassed what the travelling public needed in a visitors centre.
The response was unanimous – ample parking and clean toilets. Ours in Alice Springs has neither. Katherine got it right, on the edge of town, as has happened in many other places.
The lack of emphasis or explanation of our regional and unique geology as viewed from Anzac is appalling.
A few seats and tables perhaps. Some wise person planted trees in front of one set of sunset viewing seats! I attempted to explain the geological history to a friend several years ago and finished with an audience of about 30 people – all visitors.
How many know there are fossil fields in the ranges? There are unique one day walks in abundance close to the town, multi million dollar industries in other areas but ignored here.
There is an underlying assumption that visitors and operators are only interested in the high end of the tourism market.
A 100 Km senior school marathon relay in Japan with a TV viewing audience of 80 million was put forward here from Hermansburg or Glen Helen to town, but treated with disdain.
How much would that scale of advertising cost?
Like in so many other areas, the thinking is very short sighted and lacking in vision.
Please talk to the tourists.


Deputy Mayor Paterson: Don’t stop now!
I sat at the “Welcome to Alice” rock for 35 minutes today waiting for a plane. In that time 28 cars pulled in there and forty plus people were photographed sitting on that rock.
Surely this is the target market that is being overlooked.
Yes, we do need a presence in the Mall, but has anyone ever talked to these people on what their expectations are?
Re the airport land, there could have been a high technology industrial park there 40 years ago, based on our unique sunlight, licencing and exporting all the things that are unique here, but nothing happened.
Nor are the minds open to this type of industry in planning decisions.
As examples, our own spinifex is being planted commercially in the Ord because it contains micro fibres that add strength to latex.
All the development has been done interstate while we were asleep, apart for a great effort at Curtain Springs.
There are thousands of bush tomato being grown in the district to meet a growing demand, but who knows and where can potential investors see them?
With the mad rush into medicinal cannabis how can we benefit?
I have had two expressions of interest in purchasing my rural block because of its proximity to the airport – both from tourism related companies who find it both expensive and inconvenient to use industrial land in town.
Surely the airport could offer the tour bus industry development land close to the source of their client base and income to the mutual benefit of both parties.
That surely would be a better deal than a prison.
The great walks on the south side of the ranges is also grossly underutilised.
Eco walks business is becoming a major industry and visitor attraction interstate but ignored here. Instead we had a proposed industrial envelopment at Arumbera on a particularly interesting and unique piece of ecology, while three major interstate highways, a rail terminal, and an airport with international status lie a few kilometres away.
Surely this is the basis of a huge transport hub and associated industry. The shortsighted view of planning is astounding.


No youth detention facilities in residential areas: MLAs
On my way past the canal development aka ASRI recently I spotted a large dust cloud off to the north along a series of new fences.
Could it be that earthworks have already started on a new detention facility there without them telling anyone?
No. They would never do anything like that would they?
Come to think of it remember the first we heard of Kigarrif was a brief note from Paul Henderson as Chief Minister that the government had allocated $10m for head works just before an election. But governments don’t do things like that behind our backs, do they?


Step closer for rare earth mine employing up to 370
Apart from the rare earths component, of which China has about 97% of the worlds supply, we are due to run out of phosphate within 20 years and potash perhaps before that.
To see the veracity of these reports look at the website of Parkway minerals and their ASX notices.
There is a graph sourced from Forbes Investment Services which shows the gravity of the looming fertiliser shortage.
In addition to this, we will likely be importing phosphate from Algeria with all the political instability that that may involve.
We so have our heads in the sand.
There is also an interesting development with Northern Minerals an the world situation and competition for rare earths and their implications with defence and the production of weaponry, particularly in the USA.
To protect ourselves we should be going hell bent developed plant varieties with lower nutrient requirements but we prefer to build drag strips and sports pavilions rather than research into food production.
Both the Chinese and Indian authorities recognised this long ago, but we are slow learners.
PS: I have a vested interest in all three companies having purchased shares for my grand children 10 years ago.


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