The saving of the Old Alice Springs Gaol was the …

Comment on The gaolers and the gaoled: new exhibition by Domenico Pecorari.

The saving of the Old Alice Springs Gaol was the last major win for our town’s built heritage.
It makes me laugh when I hear some blame the “conservationists” for stifling growth and bringing on the town’s present-day economic woes.
From my recollection, developers have won practically every heritage-related battle since that time, much to the detriment of our town’s once iconic Outback character.
And yes, there is still a fire in the belly of most of us from that time, but it is a slow burn, drenched in a sadness and disappointment that the system itself is stacked against our town’s heritage and that there are just so many times one can bash one’s head against a wall that just won’t budge.

Recent Comments by Domenico Pecorari

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.


Have a look at what’s being demolished
@ Jim and Mardi: Where have we been? With all due respect, we have been locked in a “Catch-22” by a system and legislation that favours the short-term profit of owners and developers over the longer term benefit to the town as a whole.
There are a half-dozen significant historic buildings and places we could re-nominate for heritage listing in Alice Springs, but to do so could see them prematurely demolished, effectively making their nomination a death sentence.
The so called Heritage Act outlines an elaborate process of assessment and recommendations, all of which can be over-ridden by the minister of the day because the owner complains.
Where in the Act does it say that the owner has veto rights?
Anzac High is where, perhaps, we suddenly realised that we had nothing to lose and that governments need to be held accountable for disastrous decisions based upon gut feeling instead of measured analysis.


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