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

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.

Consultants with 40,000 years on the job
As a child I remember in the Riverland of SA, an APY lands Indigenous man whom we all idolised, one Jimmy James.
Remember going out onto the river flats around Berri and watch him tracking foxes, and my father showed him how to grow potatoes in a trench.
He lived at Gerard.
Some of feats also were legendary. On one occasion there was a murder at Pine Valley station, North of Waikerie.
Jimmy tracked the murderer for several days through the Mallee until his apprehension North of Renmark.
On another occasion he tracked a mentally disturbed woman for several kilometres through the streets of Berri, claiming she had gone into the river near the old pumping station.
This was dismissed by the authorities until her body floated to the surface of the river exactly where he said she had gone in.
His memory is commemorated by a plaque on the river bank near where the old ferry landing was in the town.
Jimmy was also instrumental in tracking the legendary figure known locally as “Possum” who lived a hermit’s life along the river between Renmark and Wentworth.
His story in now in a book of the same name by a former Renmark detective, Max Jones.

Community solar: the devil is in the wires
Why is it that there are around 60 off grid facilities already in operation in this country ranging from Goulburn in NSW to King Island to a complete new suburb Just North of Perth, where 20 odd houses get power from a battery bank the size of a shipping container, to Moololabank, near Melbourne, and now Chile on a large scale and Morocco where they have a solar / molten salt facility which is to power 2000 houses, with a similar facility in Spain.
One of these has been financed from Wall Street where they know a thing or two about making money, as does Lend Lease Corporation the promoter of several of these subdivisions here.
That could have happened here, putting us right at the front of the industry, with another thing to advertise the place but we did not.
Now we have three shopping complexes going off grid-Griffith in NSW and several others in SA – all being put in by a former Geothermal explorer, and to be followed by several others.
That also could have happened here but no one was looking.
Regarding the cost of infrastructure, the recent inquiry into costing revealed that 40% of the consumer cost is in the distribution system.
Once in tertiary economics classes it was taught that the electricity industry was the perfect example of cost reductions due to economies of scale.
This was partly true until the infrastructure was privatized. Spark Infrastructure, for example, which acquired the distribution network in SA and Vic years ago, showing that each entity must report to shareholders and that economies of scale suddenly went missing.
The energy losses in long distance transmission are obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of physics.
This is why Germany is moving towards carbon nano tube transmission while we live 50 years behind.
It therefore makes sense to move development to the source of generation to minimize costs and encourage industry.
I see no sign of that here.
In addition lithium storage will be obsolete shortly with the advent of nickel and vanadium flow batteries, and in the longer term thorium molten salt reactors.

We’ve got the sunshine, they’ve got the people
Not many people seem to have noticed the bank of invertors outside the big green shed on the main North road, or the solar array South of Coober Pedy, or the community grid going in at Goulburn, NSW, ($500 membership ) or the facility in Morocco based on solar and molten salt, and supplying power 24/7 to two million people, or the same facility in Spain doing much the same thing, or the shopping centers at Griffith or Murray Bridge, which have gone off grid.
All done by an Australian company.
Of the 50 or so mini grids in Australia, many are facilitated by a major development company – Lend Lease. One in WA supplies 20 houses from a battery bank inside a shipping container, while the money for the Morocco unit came from Wall St, where they know a thing or two about money.
We could have been exporting electricity to the Eastern states but for the breathlessly short sighted vision. It’s no coincidence that the facility in SA (Elon Musk) is situated right next to the interstate connector.
And what of the electric cars that will be heading our way? Holland or Denmark runs its entire rail system on wind. Where have we been?

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