Albrecht Oval lights: fight not over yet

Above: Albrecht Oval looking west; light towers “3D generated”, perimeter vegetation sparse at best. Image  supplied.

 

By KIERAN FINNANE

 

At least some local residents will fight on against the proposed light towers for Albrecht Oval, despite council’s unanimous formal vote last night to go ahead with the project.

 

Active opponents Mike Crowe, and Simon and Fiona Pettit were in the public gallery last night, as was active proponent, Bruce Walker, president of the Alice Springs Cricket Association.

 

Mr Pettit, speaking to council last night, kept it brief: he asked councillors to visit the oval one more time before making their decision, to see whether dense vegetation grows there that would screen out the feared light and noise impacts of the project. This is apparently claimed in the Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

 

The images he supplied in his final written submission yesterday show vegetation ranging from relatively thick (for Alice Springs) in some patches (image below), through sparse to non-existent in others (above).

 

In his written submission he described the claim as “preposterous”.

 

Above: More vegetation apparent in this view, especially on the right of the photo, but not “dense”.

 

Further, the height of what vegetation does exist is only half of the proposed 34.5m high light towers, he said, which would also limit its supposed light and noise mitigating effects.

 

Similarly “preposterous”, he said, is the EMP’s “Plan B” if the existing vegetation doesn’t work as hoped for. That plan, according to Mr Pettit, is to add plant more vegetation in the drainage channel, which  would be “contrary to both civil engineering design practice and common sense”.

 

He said he would be making similar representations to the relevant Ministers and Territory government departments who now have to sign off on the project.

 

No-one responded to the substance of his comments.

 

Cr Eli Melky said he had considered every one of the residents’ serious concerns, before going on to reiterate his comments from a fortnight ago, that his support for the project was in the interest of the wider community.

 

He acknowledged the “hard work” opponents had done, he applauded them “for their fight” and appreciated that they would continue it as part of the democratic process. He hoped that in time they would come to agree that the lights were a good idea.

 

Cr Marli Banks, who was absent from the mid-month meeting, supported having lights on the oval but said she hoped council had learned from the process how to “better consult with our community”. It had been a “very confusing process”, and, in the most recent public meeting, a lot of questions “weren’t very well received or responded to”.

 

 

 

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