I think I have well and truly rejected your comments …

Comment on Spot a tree? Chop it down! by Mike Gillam.

I think I have well and truly rejected your comments (# 5 below) that “… the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority is the source of resistance to putting out these fires? ” and “… it is my understanding that not only are Council and the Fire Department prevented from extinguishing the fires once they start …”
Hal, I’m going to assume you were repeating what was said to you by someone in a position of authority at the Town Council. For all our sakes I hope that person is not actively engaged in the management of the Todd River.
Obviously the public needs to know if there are flaws in coordination, culture or inter-departmental cooperation here. The river corridor is Crown land but day-to-day management rests with the Trustee (Alice Springs Town Council). Based on the lack of fire prevention work taking place I suspect that Council urgently needs help. Blame shifting or buck passing might distract people for a while but it won’t improve the mediocre management on display in the Todd River.
It is critical we prepare for the probability of more fires as buffel grass quickly re-grows and dries off once more. We can’t simply hope for rain to stave off the problem. Unfortunately the presence of standing dead timber has greatly increased since the destructive spring fires and much of this will need to be removed to prevent more fires wreaking havoc this summer. The big logs lying on the ground are probably less of a hazard than the dense stands of dead gums and Acacia’s.
Finally, can we please start slashing the unburnt buffel and spraying the buffel re-growth around as yet, unburnt and still magnificent red gums?
Note: I am commenting here as a private person.

Mike Gillam Also Commented

Spot a tree? Chop it down!
Please don’t try to put words in my mouth and twist the facts. Your response is a poor attempt to muddy the waters and the readers of this site deserve better.
I am more than happy to provide answers to your questions after you have publicly withdrawn your false statement that effectively slurs everyone who works within and is associated with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority. Please DISCLOSE the source of your previously stated allegation or take responsibility for concocting a fantasy, correct the public record and apologise.

Spot a tree? Chop it down!
I find Hal Duell’s claim that the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority is somehow responsible for letting sacred trees burn, both malicious and moronic – he should DISCLOSE where he got this bizarre information and /or why he believes it is appropriate to air this blatantly false and offensive remark in a public forum. I think Hal has some axe to grind here – maybe he senses a potentially divisive issue for the upcoming Town Council elections?
Unfortunately in this town Hal is on a sure winner by undermining an organization that tries to balance the needs of the wider community with the limited rights of custodians trying to protect their sacred sites. I can’t begin to imagine what a tragic townscape Alice Springs would become if this protection was compromised any further. Coming from Hal, the claim that AAPA is “becoming crazed by a sense of its own importance” only reassures me that the Authority is lifting its game and standing up for sacred sites. On second thoughts, look in the mirror mate.
I should disclose here that I’m writing as a private person who currently serves on the Board of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority. In that capacity I am frequently exposed to the reality that sacred sites are needlessly damaged and destroyed, at least in part, because so many influential “commentators” provide a public relations smoke-screen for the greedy, negligent and ignorant. In the process they erode respect for sacred sites, a priceless natural and cultural heritage that we should all be proud of.

Recent Comments by Mike Gillam

Melanka building would obscure unequalled backdrop
While I broadly support the views of the writer, I’d like to correct what is clearly a typo.
The building height limit in the CBD is 14 m. not 8.5m, and for the record, I won’t be making a submission to the NT Planning Commission, a Statutory Authority advising the NT Government on planning matters including building heights in Alice Springs because I don’t regard the public consultation process as genuine.
Recent calls by the Chief Minister for expressions of interest in the development of land at Whittaker Street, just outside the western boundary of the CBD and in an area with a LOWER height limit, makes a mockery of this public consultation.
The artist’s impression shows a building that dramatically exceeds the stated limit for this area, from memory, not even 14 m but currently 8.5m.
Of course, the nature of legislation, regulations and town plans may be subject to the extraordinary powers granted to the responsible Minister who can always find some justification.
In closing I would give credit to the NT Planning Commission for its recognition of the value of protecting some critical east west sight-lines across the CBD.
However the town’s future shape and collective massing of buildings will be determined to a large extent by the uncoordinated actions of individual developers and politicians in the decades ahead.
Ultimately this is a game of chance and DESIGN, that elusive collective vision for Alice Springs, appears to be taking a back seat in the process. As a struggling tourist town we can and should do much better.

Festival broadens ambitions of Alice Cinema
At a time when the town’s commercial centre is under great stress we are very fortunate to have such dynamic and progressive people directing the cinema complex.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the tip …
Delightfully zany, elegant, rigorously conceived and resolved, an asset to the landfill and the town. Congratulations to the artist for her uncompromising effort and those on the Town Council who placed their faith in her and dared to make this happen. I hope the obvious quality of this public art has raised the confidence of decision makers and they feel vindicated to do it again with equal rigour. Perhaps in time, as the town’s artistic side is further highlighted and revealed we may regain some of our reputation as a tourist mecca.

Dancers take over after dark
Not denying there is an equivalent need for the hard core stories but surely this is the Alice Springs News at its very best.I’m kicking myself for missing the event.

Residency is at risk, says heritage group
Hal, where to start…If you peddle misinformation some readers might hyperventilate. But I think you’re ignoring the elephant in the room here…no-one likes their time being wasted and that’s how I feel trying to unravel your torrent of opinion and innuendo. Time prevents me from responding to more of your posts. It’s not simply that you distort reality by describing The Residency as “…current inactive state…” or that it’s preposterous and insulting to say, “Have you considered that Heritage Alice Springs’ dogmatic approach to these matters contributed to the Old Riverside not being given Heritage listing?” What an outrageous example of shoot the messenger by some-one who has not seen the nomination by HAS. But wait there’s more, “…I often think the heritage crowd exceed their brief…” Really? They’re the main reason you can cite the example of the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame at its fantastic heritage location. And again, “…We don’t have very many buildings worth listing. Too many tin sheds, and who really cares…” Your regard for vernacular architecture including sheds is out of step with rising national interest and ignores much of the development history of Alice Springs.
PS Re. leasing the Residency for use as a cafe, I reiterate the issue of onsite car-parking. From memory, 6 parks are required for every 100m2 of net floor area and any alfresco dining areas – so I’m guessing this site would have to at least double the existing parks – this reasonable condition may be waived by the Minister BUT it’s in the best commercial interests of cafe owners to provide viable parking to lessen the impact on the street during periods of peak trade. And no, the idea that a new venture would be allowed to free-load on existing public car-parking is unlikely to win much support. The RFDS has it all, why try to replicate that experience with less at the Residency?

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