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

Federal study casts light on future source of town water
I was associated with the development of the Australian Democrats’ water development policy in the late 70s and the sad fact from that and a universal truth is that the salts contained in any water do not evaporate.
Salt interception schemes along the Murray basin are an expensive but inevitable consequence. Yet we once more fail to look at experiences elsewhere in the world and their remedies.
Israel is producing a ton of potable water from waste using nano technology for under 60 cents a tonne while we use scarce and expensive fossil water to remove our own waste and then treat the water as a waste product! What are we doing?
Elsewhere in Australia sewerage is being used to grow highly nutritious algae for cattle fodder Tasmania and other places have greenhouse technology down to a fine art and are producing bulk food without extravagant use of water just as Sundrop is doing.
This facility at Pt Augusta is producing lots of food from water with water far saltier than ours, and supplying the whole of a major supermarket chain with tomatoes Australia wide with just few hectares. Further up the Murray harvesting the salt is proving lucrative. Once more where were we when all this was happening?

New abattoir for Alice? Some cattle men pushing for it.
History is repeating itself.
Remember the efforts of Garry Dann a few years ago to establish a multi species facility here and the frustrations following a report by interstate consultants?
It got little or no local government support, and again short sighted vision remains the order of the day.
Eventually it must be recognised that much of the commercial activity of the town will have to shift to the area around Brewer, including any proposal for an abattoir, and the sooner governments
start planning for this the better.
What is happening at Peterborough could and should have have happened here irrespective of the closure of small abattoirs elsewhere.
Our comparative advantage was the ability to air freight chilled box meat direct to Asia from here through an integrated road, rail and air freight hub at Brewer.
Another great opportunity missed through lack of vision at an official level.
As to the land clearing issue, there should be no need. It is disgraceful that productivity research into our local Acacias for both timber and animal feed is being conducted in Africa and India and should have been happening where the houses now stand at what was ASRI, to attract the investment capital to build the industry.
At least two universities, both interstate, are producing highly nutritional animal food by recycling nutrients from sewerage via algae. Why not here?
The answer lies again in a lack of vision and political will by both previous administrations.
The housing and development industry is seen as more important than long term sustainable industry, and a lack of looking around at what is successful elsewhere. The same seems to be applying to tourism.

Bailed juveniles next-door to you soon?
In 35 years teaching her at all levels, there have been instances where Indigenous children have played up disrupting the learning for everyone else.
I remember taking one of these children aside and got the response “you can’t do anything to me because I’m Aboriginal”.
Another response that I remember getting was “you’re picking on me because I’m black”.
I pointed out the young woman that my own children, being part Fijian, had the same skin color to which the response was “but they’re not Aboriginal”.
This attitude has been promoted over years by professionals purportedly acting in the best interests of their clients but which has resulted in thinking that their clients are not subject to the same codes of behavior as the rest of the community.
These professionals have largely acted in the best interests of their professional careers and then moved on, leaving us with a legacy that we see now.
You reap what you sow. I feel for the parents who have their children’s education compromised.

Horror numbers in tourism stats, with a hint for a solution
Having spent some time in the Mclaren Vale area and surrounding hills is is sad to see what has happened in Alice in their attempts to attract and build tourism compared with what is happening else where in the market.
Mclaren Vale is bursting with tourism related activity.
They have a very attractive welcoming facility on the main approach to town, featuring ample parking facilities for both buses and caravans, clean modern toilets, eating, community meeting and other display areas and vibrant displays of everything the district produces, including samples, and where to get them.
We have very little if any of this. Following this line our centre should have been a custom build facility situated where the welcome rock south of the town and where every visitor either by air or road has to pass as happens in the Vale.
In May last year in two hours sitting there over 100 people had their photo taken sitting on that rock. There is your market.
Unfortunately one bus driver pointed out to me that in their haste to construct approaches rock, the entrance is so steep that some buses ground on the approach and so many bypass it.
The approach has been reactive not pro active by not noticing what is happening elsewhere.
The main road to Melbourne used to pass through Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills but has been superseded by the freeway.
Their main street now has been designated as a dedicated tourism zone based on their German heritage-food music crafts etc. and is immensely successful.
I wondered again, why it could not be copied here from the Mall to the Gap down Gap road.
An open air Indigenous art mark is so obvious and necessary.
We used to have the heritage component here but it vanished under shopping centres and is mostly now landfill.
It is noteworthy that the current CBD was mapped out nearly 100 years ago in response to the needs of the Telegraph Station. Are we really still that far behind in our thinking and is it time for a complete re think?

Spread renewables, government asked
ReNu energy (formerly Geodynamics), a pioneer in the geothermal energy field, has several solar facilities up and running in several places in SA, Victoria, ACT and NSW all of which are based on community ownership and after the meter billing.
This would be the perfect spot (Brewer) for such a facility if we can keep the red tape at bay.
For more details look at their website. Several of these are based on shopping centres, and the largest shopping centre in Alice would be an ideal site to demonstrate what is possible and what is happening elsewhere.
In addition comments about battery storage and talk of its shortcomings are quite premature and sometimes negative.
Lithium is the favorite of the month at the moment and there is some around here in the local pegmatites but this will shortly be superseded by vanadium flow batteries.
All the details of these are online at Australian Vanadium but the science is a bit complicated to the layman.
This is an ASX listed company and worth looking at to see what is coming.
Interestingly the emerging Vanadium / Titanium province at Mt Peake West of Barrow Creek brings the industry right to our front door, but not yet recognized widely locally.

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