Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 4 »

January 26, 2012

Your guide to our summer season Food for Thought series so far

Your guide to our summer season Food for Thought series so far (just click):
Kemy Ogendi: Education: Alice must lift its game.
Liz Martin: Transport Hall of Fame bucks downward trends.
Kay Eade: Can the town afford the welfare burden?
Bob Durnan: 2022 AD – What we could hope for in Indigenous affairs, apart from the odd miracle.
Deborah Rock: Give tourists what they want.
Mike Gillam: 500 year old red gums are being lost through neglect – but the trees can’t speak. FULL STORY »

The Alice: celebrate the good, fix the bad – now!

This week’s Food for Thought panel member is veterinarian Debbie Osborne (pictured), a local for nearly thee decades. When it comes to commitment to The Alice she’s put her money where her mouth is: A year ago she opened one of the nation’s best equipped animal hospitals in Milner Road. To her the town is mostly good – and what’s not can be fixed, and the sooner the better, she says!
Alice Springs has changed in 28 years. Change is inevitable. A lot of change has been for the better. When I first arrived, someone commented that “Alice Springs people don’t walk; we drive everywhere.” That was true! Todd Mall was only half a mall, with traffic still allowed travelling from south to north. We couldn’t commit to the idea of no traffic in the main street.

If we were going to lunch at Swingers Cafe in Reg Harris Lane and couldn’t park within three spaces of the entrance to the lane, we were really annoyed. Now we still drive what I consider to be ridiculously short distances, but so many more of us ride bikes and walk. This has been made easier by the creation of bike / foot paths along the river and other parts of town, but we need more.
When I first came here, I was intrigued by the “2km Law”. Fortunately, there were no licensed premises at the airport (the tiny building just to the west of the new airport). December would see residents arriving at the airport with Eskys to farewell friends off home for Christmas.

We’d sit on the lawn out the front of the airport, drinking beer, sipping wine.
The friends we were farewelling would head off across the tarmac to board their plane and just as we considered leaving, another group of friends (or perhaps just acquaintances) would arrive with their Esky, so we’d stay a bit longer. Several hours on a Saturday could be spent at the airport. (I’m sure we had a Sober Bob to drive us home, so please don’t anyone lecture me on glorifying our drinking culture.) Then someone put a bar at the airport and it was never the same. Is there anywhere now where such an impromptu gathering could occur?
I have a belief that good laws are, enforceable, protect innocent people and do not inconvenience a reasonable person acting responsibly.
Based on the above criteria, Alice Springs has many laws that are not so good. Can we really stop people that are determined to get drunk from doing so, and if I am responsibly having a beer or two on the banks of the river, is that really a crime?
Can we, and should we, stop people from camping in the river? What harm is done by people camping in the river? Yes, littering is a problem and that should be dealt with via littering laws (and a reasonable person acting responsibly would not be inconvenienced by this). Being drunk and disorderly is a problem and should be dealt with under appropriate laws that do not inconvenience reasonable people acting responsibly. And people that need help should get help, not be pushed away from the public view, out of sight, out of mind.

Alice Springs has problems. I believe we are mature enough to examine the problems and look for real solutions. Applying bandaids by creating laws that appear to be addressing the problems but provide no real solutions is not good enough. FULL STORY »

Housing crisis as 860 dwellings are in development

There is land for 860 dwellings in various stages of development in Alice Springs, yet if you wanted to buy a residential block you’d be pushed to find one. And this is counting only 150 dwellings in Kilgariff which will ultimately provide 4500.

Nothing illustrates more how dysfunctional the town’s land development “system” is, a key reason for the current exodus of productive, middle-class families.
The biggest major projects – Coolibah Estate, Emily Valley and White Gums – are foundering or are being delayed while at the other end of the spectrum are projects that would make a mining camp appear a leafy suburb (see drawing).

What is a housing block worth? There are so few available that it’s difficult to tell.
The hard numbers are for blocks in Stirling Heights, says veteran real estate man Doug Fraser, which went for an average $120,000 in 2006, and Albrecht Drive for an average of $150,000 in 2009.

He says most of the world’s towns and cities grow from their fringes: Alice did with Larapinta, Morris Soak, Dixon Road, New Eastside, Sadadeen.
Native title put a stop to this process although the government – as the Opposition tirelessly pointed out – had options of putting the public good ahead of the demands of a minority.
Instead of taking advantage of the vast amount of space around the town, developers had to buy up “infill” such as old caravan parks, at a massive cost, and the residential land crisis was born. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Lhere Artepe aims to strengthen relationship with Alice Springs community

Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation needs to be placed “back in the hands of the Arrernte people as the native title holders of Central Australia,” says Ian McAdam (see report below).
His appointment as the chairman of town’s native title organisation was confirmed today.
He says the group, which is emerging from years of internal strife, “will play a bigger role in our community.

“We will focus on regaining the trust of forgotten native title holders and work hard to strengthen the relationship with the Alice Springs community as a whole.

“
The directors, drawn from the three estate groups, are:-

Antulye: Mr McAdam (chairperson); Willy Satour, Felicity Hayes and Janice Harris.

Irlpme: Noel Kruger (deputy chairperson); Kathy Martin, Bonita Kopp and Raymond Peters.

Mparntwe: Michael Liddle (deputy chairperson); Tessa Campbell, Carolyn Liddle and Ian Conway. FULL STORY »

Leadership spill in Lhere Artepe

Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation has a new chairman, Ian McAdam (pictured left), who is replacing Brian Stirling (pictured right), according to an executive member of the group.

Noel Kruger remains as one vice-chairman and Michael Liddle has been appointed as the second.
Eight of the 12 executive members have survived the shake-up, while four new ones have been appointed, including Ian Conway, one of the leading reformers of the town’s native title group.
The changes follow years of turmoil within the group, and recently the sacking of CEO Darryl Pearce, to whom Mr Stirling was close.
The source says more decisions will be made on Monday.
The changes have been approved by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, according to the source.
Mr McAdam works for the education department and is the assistant director, Alice Springs Football Academy – The Clontarf Foundation. He is also a participant in the Desert Knowledge leadership program (its website is the source of Mr McAdam’s photo). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. SEE BELOW for more Lhere Artepe reports.
FULL STORY »

Lhere Artepe company says Mt Johns subdivision back on track, significant changes for supermarkets

The issue of land titles for the Mt Johns Valley residential subdivision (pictured) is now imminent and over the next two months there will be “significant changes to the financial management and overall operations” of the Eastside, Flynn Drive and Hearne Place supermarkets, according to Sally McMartin, business manager of Lhere Artepe Enterprises (LAE).
She says the company linked to Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation has been reviewing its operations with a “strong focus on effective management” and ensuring that “finances are managed effectively.”
LAE sacked its CEO Darryl Pearce last month. FULL STORY »

Can the town afford the welfare burden?

 

Kay Eade, Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce in Alice Springs, joins our Food for Thought panel this week.

When things get tough the tough get going. Kay strutted a no-nonsense attitude at a string of recent public functions: Enough talk. Here are her views of what action the town needs.

When Alice Springs was going through difficult times during the summer of 2011, I contacted many regional Chambers to find out if their communities were experiencing similar issues, and if so, what were they doing to combat the problem.

Most of them were, or had been, having difficulties with lawlessness which added to businesses operating expenses.

One topic which kept being raised was that of welfare payments.  Many of the Chambers I contacted stated that their community believed that welfare was hindering the progress of their regions. FULL STORY »