$20m gated community proposed for Pine Gap staff


The Department of Defence is making an application to build a gated community with 40 three-bedroom “multiple dwellings” worth $20m, not counting the cost of the land off Stephens Road.
If approved the complex will be built in several stages (see plan above).
It is understood the proposed complex, on land developed by Lhere Artepe Nominees Pty Ltd, which is linked with the native title organisation Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, is for Pine Gap staff.
The land, at the foot of the MacDonnell Ranges and not far from the convention centre, has a frontage to Maconochie Road of 89 metres and 171 metres frontage to a new road yet to be named.
The application, to be heard next week, says the proposed units will have a maximum building height less than 8.5 metres and all 40 units will be double storey.
About 2,442 square meters of communal open space will be incorporated into the development and a proposed perimeter fence will provide screening to “avoid undue overlooking of adjoining properties”.
The fences (pictured) will be about two metres high.
Meanwhile, Tahlia and Thomas Smith Property Investments Pty Ltd have purchased for $1.85m the G’day Mate caravan park in 31 Palm Court, Ross Highway from Alexander Theodor and Jeanette Sue Muir.
The Central Land Council bought industrial land in Sargent and Cameron Streets for $1.79m.
The Australian head of Pine Gap, Margaret Larkin, says the project is part of an ongoing “modernising of the housing fleet”.
She says some homes in other parts of Alice Springs will be sold but it is not yet clear how many.
The number is likely to be “in the tens,” the replacement will not be one for one (there are 40 dwellings in the proposal) and will depend on the turnover rate of the base workforce and the composition of the families.
Ms Larkin says creating a gated community is not a response to the law-and-order conditions in the town, but rather to “create a sense of community” and to prevent children becoming victims of accidents on the busy Stephens Road.
The complex will be surrounded by something that’s more a fence than a wall but the gate will be locked at all times – not unlike it is the case with apartment buildings.
Ms Larkin says the owners and developers of the land, Lhere Artepe Nominees Pty Ltd, had accepted an offer from the Australian Department of Defence and the sale is now being processed.
Ms Larkin said she did not know the price to be paid.


  1. Ms Larkin’s comments thinly veil the exclusionist values of this project. This is not what we need in Alice Springs. If the Pine Gap workforce fear the occasional traffic on Stephens Road I suggest they build this facility right at Pine Gap. Then they can feel safe and secure 24/7.
    I live in that small neighborhood and will plan on moving away as soon as the first shovel of red earth is turned.

  2. This is ridiculous! What makes “Pine Gap Staff” so special? As a child of former Pine Gap employees back in the late 60s, I can think of no better way to isolate the “staff” from the locals who have so generously welcomed and put up with the influx Yanks (I am one) and others associated with Pine Gap, than to build a gated community. It was bad enough when I lived there and most of the Yanks lived out Larapinta Drive and Miller Ave way. My parents and I did not and I have Aussie friendships that still exist today, over 40 years later. I reckon those in that precious gated community will never have that gift.

  3. I believe this plan is a great move for the base. With shift work part of the employment this will ensure the personal safety of families. This is not about division this is about providing safety for those who live there. Our police cannot cope with the crime in our town. And narrow minded people make comment because Boeing want to protect its workers. If I had the choice where to house my staff in a low risk area or high risk the choice is simple. Protect my workers at all cost. Those who find fault in this type of protectionism and those who place a high value on life and safety then you really have problems of your own. Safety first. OHS in the workplace. But not in your town, hey?

  4. Hi Janet, I find your comment “police cannot cope with the crime in this town” interesting. Given that inner-Sydney doctors, the NT Police Association and a Victorian Police Superintendent are all attributing increases in crime to alcohol availability, I would be interested to learn whether you and Cr Brown have reviewed your Law and Order approach as the only means of dealing with crime in Alice.

  5. Julia, I’m curious as one of the yanks that we are supposedly “putting up with,” what is your problem with providing upgraded housing for the families that come here?
    Building 40 additional properties to house families creates jobs for local tradies and supports the town’s largest employer. If Pine Gap were to close and/or the Yanks to leave, I venture this town would suffer more. Is it just the term “gated” that is bugging you? If so, are you suggesting that all the other complexes in Alice that have gates remove theirs so they can be more inclusive? Or is it just that its the yanks doing it? They aren’t building their own schools, shops, sports teams, etc. They still integrate their families into our community and I don’t think having a few houses on one street is going to change that.

  6. Let the Yanks pay for it … they have already shafted us with obsolete planes, not to mention the Blackhawks that fell out of the sky. Let them pay for it. We have our own needy people that could do with 20 million dollars … it’s BS.

  7. Well said Leigh, a reasonable point of view. And it does raise the question of other gated communities / complexes around the town.
    And even some of the fenced-in fortresses that some individual dwellings have become over the years.
    Why can’t the Americans do as they wish, within reason?
    In our nearly 30 years in The Alice we always found the Americans outgoing, friendly, community-minded, easy to get on with … and if some of them feel a bit more comfortable behind a fence at night I’m OK with that.
    Remember, some of these people would have grown up in households where guns were on hand as a security blanket, something they have to do without in Australia.

  8. Someone said that if the Americans moved out of Alice the bottom would fall out of the housing market.
    I disagree, If they moved out home owners would then have to bring rentals back to a normal level where the people of Alice could afford to rent a home.
    It is the presence of people from Pine Gap that are inflating the rental market in Alice.

  9. I thought our public housing policy was to disperse minority groups around the suburbs and not to create a ghetto. Why should it be different for these public housing tenants?


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