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

Prof Gerritsen: We got it wrong from the start
Alex Nelson is spot on. Having spent a significant part of my life living in remote and rural Fiji it was disturbing to see the influence China has there now. Where once Radio Australia was, there is now Radio China speaking in English, and sat. antenna, all solar powered. This happened at around the same time as our HF service disappeared as well, and here was a massive Chinese electronic surveillance ship in Suva harbour. Lee Kwan Yew had it right with his series of 5 year plans and that’s why our fuel comes from Singapore. We are just slow learners.
However some things don’t change and sitting on the side of the road near the school, which we initiated and which the school community built themselves, sat some of the students that we taught, selling bananas at 50 cents a bunch to get the $30 a term school fees for their grandchildren. An old Indian friend – a small scale rice farmer- still walks the 15 KM to the school to pay the school fees for his grandson, seeing it as good value.
That school produced a high ranking Police officer, a couple of doctors and a Diplomat. Then I returned here to see the bus doing its rounds of the camps to pick up kids to take them to school should they be inclined to do so.
Then I recalled the incident years ago when I had to challenge a boy who threw chairs around a room in a maths class. His immediate response was “You can’t do anything to me, I’m Aboriginal” in pretty much those words. Another young woman accused me of picking on her for bad behaviour and I was accused of being racist.
I pointed out to her that my own three children had the same skin colour as he did, being part Fijian. Again her response was “But they’re not Aboriginal”. We have to ask ourselves how these things came about and in whose best interests are they?
There are many really positive stories of Indigenous achievement in this town – an acclaimed actor and several prominent academics, an international airline pilot – and my closest friends here over the last 35 years have been Aboriginal men, all of whom have done great things for themselves and their families, without excuse. What is happening now, and why?


Thumbs down for dongas depot at Ilparpa
It is in the interests of everyone – including the proponent – to have such facilities situated in the vicinity of the cattle yards or Brewer.
The mining companies do this already and a cursory look at the geography show that we are a the intersection of three major national highways, North South, East west and soon NW to SE via the Tanami.
The outback way could easily have a diversion for heavy traffic from Gemtree thus satisfying the need of the local shire to speed up their tourism ambitions in the East Macs and partly alleviate the pressure on The Gap by arriving South of The Gap.
Add to that a cross nation railway and an internationally accredited airport with direct access to Asia and it would be a dream come true for a transport operator and a financial bonanza for those operators with a bit of foresight.
There is land available there as a few Local businesses have already discovered and the real estate values there will only rise as these facts are realised.
When the government was quizzed a few years on why land south of the airport was not used in place of Kilgariff there were a series of mealy mouthed reasons returned to me, non of which explained, why land publicly displayed as “Crown Land” was not available for the Crown to use.
I suspect that real estate interests had a say in that, and in the meantime the parking problems at the hospital only further make the point that the hospital (and the CBD) are now in the wrong place, and should be further south where the infrastructure, power and future water will have to be.
A commercial and housing hub there has to be the next obvious move. The early worms will most certainly get the very fat worm.
The proposal for Arumbera as an industrial zone is once more so short sighted with a rapidly growing market for short term walking / eco trails in many other areas, within cooee of the accommodation.


Panel of just two for controversial Ilparpa decision
Two sets of rules? Some time ago-perhaps 20 years Olkefor No 3 was told of impending prosecution for manufacturing roof trusses on Mulla Mulla road at Conellan. He had to move.
At around the same time another resident was told the same thing when he was hiring out four or five caravans from a block on Heffernan. How times change.
Currently in this same area we have at least eight properties that are operating illegally, in the RL zone, ranging from trucking depots to a motor wrecking yard.
Brewer has been mentioned as an alternative but discounted as being long term, and too far, and everyone wants big profits yesterday.
I was given a lot of mealy mouthed reasons why land advertised as “Crown land-no trespassing”, south of he airport, was not available for the Crown to use, and the then planning minister drew back, saying too hard. (He was really saying he might lose a few votes.)
There has been no recognition of the fact the the town has outgrown its original purpose, (Telegraph line and Arltunga gold), and now needs to face the reality that it future is south of town at Brewer, where we have the intersection of three major trans national roads, north, south, east and west, and now from the Ord to the eastern markets via the Tanami.
Then add an internationally rated airport and a rail depot and you have something unique in the country, but not yet recognised.
It could be a gold mine for any transport company or industry to get in first and make use of these facts.
In addition, a cursory look at the current location of the national gas distribution network (Central Pet. website) clearly shows that the shortest distance from the WA gas reserves to the eastern states gas market is via Brewer, then via the new pipeline, some 400 km shorter that via Moomba – a fact not lost on the millionaires factory, Macquarie bank.
Hence their investment in Mereenie. Land at Brewer will be extremely valuable in the future, and the early bird gets the worm, while the planners here have still been in bed.
The short-sightedness has been breathtaking.
While we have been building houses here, two Australian companies have been setting up multi million dollar scientific arid land food production facilities in Israel, both related to medicinal marijuana.
Imagine the effect that that would have had had at Kilgarrif, and that was the tip of the invstment possibilities – now gone.


Onshore gas not the solution Tennant Creek had hoped for
I recall Julius Caesar and “beware the ides of March”.
It now reads beware Macquarie Bank and their involvement with the gas industry and the Jemima pipeline via Central Petroleum.
Mac Bank will be the major recipient of benefits of the pipeline, not the locals.
The methodology is to gain control over the asset, revalue it, then set their charges according to the new valuation.
If you don’t believe that ride on the Mac bank controlled train from Sydney Central to Mascot and then ask why it costs so much more than the local line.
What little there is left over is ours.
It is also interesting to note that the viability of the Inplex facility is under question as was pointed out in mid construction and evidenced by the sale of Inplex shares by one of the major international share funds.
Perhaps property investors in Darwin are to feel more chill winds. Lessons for fracking?


And now, your friendly neighbourhood prison
The mention of Giles house and its former benevolent dictator, struck fear into the hearts of wayward students when I frequently mentioned it, because they had rules which were strictly adhered to – and consequences which were enforced.
Nowadays these are a rarity.
How about a commissioner for human responsibilities instead of a commissioner for human rights.
I once brought this up with Dame Roma Mitchell, but it passed unnoticed, and still is so.


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