After years of seeing our political leaders tinkering around the …

Comment on Challenger for mayoral contest? by Domenico Pecorari.

After years of seeing our political leaders tinkering around the edges of the “grog problem”, and with confidence in our town sinking to new lows, I too believe the time has come for the community to get serious about the alcohol abuse that is the basis for many of The Alice’s social, cultural, economic and environmental ills.
Russell, David and Hal are all correct in identifying that the problem lies not with the controlled environments of licensed premises, but in the uncontrolled area of take-aways.
I myself could live with take-away hours being limited to 6 to 10pm, Thursday to Saturdays only, if it resulted in a safer and cleaner town, but I do not believe that even such an extreme measure as this would work on its own. It would need to be augmented by other measures, such as changes to social security payments, the provision of rehabilitation centres, support shelters and safety net provisions for neglected children and youth: an integrated solution to an multifaceted problem.
I have lost faith in many of our political leaders and now feel that a workable multi-pronged solution will only come from the community taking charge and developing a course of action for the politicians to follow.

Recent Comments by Domenico Pecorari

The elusive goal of deep shade in Alice
Thanks, Pip, for your timely raising of this issue as we enter another long and hot summer.
Quite apart from Council’s inept attempts at addressing the tree deaths of last year, it may be helpful to consider whether falling groundwater levels in the Town Basin are contributing to the tree losses.
Water Resources Division’s Technical Report No 6/2019A, “Alice Springs Town Basin: Groundwater level assessment” , by M.A.Short, dated April 2019, states that:
“Groundwater levels recorded at many key monitoring bores within the Alice Springs Town Basin aquifer are (as of April 2019) at their lowest levels in recent history, and have declined below their previous low levels recorded during 2008-09 at many locations.”
The report attributes the falls to an imbalance between extraction, by parties such as the “golf club, parks, schools and other green spaces”, and insufficient re-charge resulting from the current period of reduced rainfall.
All of this points to the fact that greening up our town requires a multi-pronged approach that will only stand a chance of succeeding if and when all contributing factors are considered.


Land planning favours developers, says residents group
Planning Action Network’s Margaret Clinch makes some very valid claims in this story and I commend her bravery in speaking out.
Like the so-called Heritage Act, I agree that the Planning Act is heavily in favour of development and, as if that did not tip the scales sufficiently, gives the minister the power of a final say.
To “Anonymous”, I’d say that most concerned citizens have come to view public comment on development applications as a waste of time, given the present system. I certainly have.
I remember that some 90-plus written objections were received for the application to build the huge industrial shed (approx 450 square metres) behind the little railway cottage in Railway Terrace. It was approved, of course, and built and what a shining example of disrespect for heritage it has turned out to be.
In my 35 years in Alice, the developer’s bucket of money has always won out in the end.
They have reduced this once wonderfully historic, character filled town to the mediocrity we see today.


Another nail in the Anzac High coffin
A sad day indeed. Affirmation that in the Territory, governmental bloody-mindedness trumps all. You’d be forgiven for thinking we were still living in the cashed-up 1980s. I’d have said: “Another nail in The Alice’s coffin”.


Government and council bicker over youth 
The recently released Mparntwe / Alice Springs Youth Action Plan 2019-2021 represents a great start in addressing some of the needs of our town’s and our region’s young people and it is heartening to know that it was developed with much input from the very youth it aims to serve.
There is certainly a role for local government in improving relations with young people and making them feel included and a valued part of our community.
A good start might be the opening up of Todd Mall to responsible cycling, scooting and skate-boarding, perhaps even permitting the use of seating in the northern end for public trick skating, as I believe it was originally designed for.
Who knows, it may even bring some much needed life back into that deserted part of our CBD.


Anzac High: No plans yet for what will replace it
From having walked all around the buildings and reviewed Mike Gillam’s photos of the interiors, my architect’s eye sees a well constructed building that, to use designer jargon, “has bloody good bones”.
The rock solid building was built to last, as evidenced by the lack of any cracking, and there is no spalling concrete or rust to be seen – quite remarkable in a 65 year old building.
Sure, it will certainly need to be brought up to code regarding electrical, air-conditioning and other services, but perhaps the minister could explain just how the building could be considered “dangerous”.
As for the minister’s claim that the building is “not fit for purpose”, well, that depends on what “purposes” you are willing to consider.
For a fraction of replacement cost, the town would have a very valuable asset that could be adapted to a variety of much needed inter-related uses.
It just takes a little more imagination and a lot less bloody-mindedness.


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