UPDATE Aug 21: Comprehensive comment below by Councillor Steve Brown.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
A massive complex welcoming young people of all races, those on the edge of the law and those who are not, in the centre of the town, possibly the defunct Memo Club or on the still vacant Melanka site, is a proposal Councillor Steve Brown will be putting before the town council.
“We need to reduce the us and them thing,” he says.
“There would be no alcohol, of course, and it would be the coolest place in town.”
The project would cost $30m to $40m and require funding from the Federal and NT Governments.
Facilities would range from a milk bar to an indoor sports stadium, a venue for discos, a hostel for young people getting their first job (a function Melanka used to provide), to a hairdresser and a shop where girls can make clothes or have their nails done.
It could be a place for music band practice, martial arts classes and accessing the internet.
There could be supervised emergency accommodation for kids who have nowhere else to go at night.
“The centre would put substance into the concept of harmony and inclusion,” says Cr Brown.
“Adults have a string of clubs, but little is being done for young people outside school and sports.”
He says the current Youth Hub is unsuitable because it is too remote from the town’s centre where kids prefer to hang out.
The new centre could house some of the many youth services in town, government and NGOs, contributing an ongoing income stream for the project.
On other council business, Cr Brown says the “Port Augusta solution” will get further attention in the near future, in an internal council forum.
He says especially the current meetings where departmental heads give account of their activities need to be held once a month and they need to be under the auspices of the town council.
And the dialogue with the Aboriginal Tangentyere Council should to be enhanced: Issues such as the council rangers working together with the Tangentyere night patrol, and the tidying up of town camps, need to be looked at.
Cr Brown, who topped the vote for councillor in the election earlier this year, says a possible result, over time, could be that The Alice has just one council, not two which are structured on racial grounds.
Image: Regional youth centres are common in Australia. For example, the Coomera / Oxenford Youth Centre on the Gold Coast partners with the Northern Gold Coast Communities for Children program, the Rotary Club of Coomera Valley, Gold Coast City Council and the Nucrush Good Neighbourhood Program. It opened its doors in November 2004 and now facilitates programs for more than 4000 people a month.