While I’ve not read Council’s document, I support Hal Duell’s …

Comment on Selling parks again on the agenda by Mike Gillam.

While I’ve not read Council’s document, I support Hal Duell’s observations. There is a familiar circularity in some of the arguments presented and residents should be extremely wary. Strategic placement aside, surely those parks conspicuously neglected will be used less than parks that are well maintained and therefore valued? So instead of using this as justification to sell off our embarrassing civic failures how about debating the management of parks? If the workforce can’t manage then perhaps we should consider re-structuring the organization and mobilizing neighbourhood groups.
Council might employ a facilitator / coordinator, maintain support such as public liability insurance and offer modest grants for maintenance works. From a register of approved contractors I can see gardeners chosen on the basis of merit and productivity with tangible results on the ground for neighbourhoods that make good decisions. Naturally those neighbourhoods that sell produce at fund-raising picnics will be able to afford improvements beyond the baseline. This fits with the “adopt a park” focus of some Councillors.

Mike Gillam Also Commented

Selling parks again on the agenda
Actually Eli, I was responding to the concept of measuring the usage of a park, run-down and denied adequate maintenance, and incorporating this into a scoring system to decide its fate.
Specifically I was concerned by the disparity between Council’s own findings and Hal’s observations of usage and need at Walmulla park. Greater analysis should be directed at the potential of pocket parks in a future urban landscape where increased living densities will lead to ever shrinking personal outdoor space / courtyards. Will Councillors oppose the spread of unit-scapes in neighbourhoods where local parks have been sold off? I doubt it.
It does not follow that small parks are without merit because they lack an acre of lawn – small / local parks can help to grow a sense of neighbourhood and community. The points made by Bev Emmott are well reasoned. Such places allow parents to corral their small children and meet with neighbours and yes, it helps if there are at least some shade trees and a bench seat.
It seems probable that two similar parklands in comparable urban settings are likely to record vastly different usage if one is well kept and the other neglected – I don’t think we need to invest in a full-scale physical experiment to see the logic.
Finally, do Councillors appreciate the immense “untapped” potential of involving local residents in the day-to-day management of parks? The land management skills base of this town is remarkable. The Land for Wildlife programme is hugely successful and private landowners demonstrate a high degree of competency and commitment in their management of bushland within and outside the municipality. I can cite many examples in the public domain where the efforts of volunteers are visible – from land management in the river (retired ecologist) to a hopeful garden bed in the mall (local businessman and former horticulturalist). Passionate and informed volunteers living in the immediate area make all the difference at Gosse Street, Day Street and other urban parks. Imagine the possibilities if this culture was actively encouraged by the Town Council.

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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