LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The NT Government, through the Araluen Art and Cultural Centre, is planning to call for “Expressions of Interest” from the public for leasing the heritage-listed Residency building, thereby opening up the highly likely possibility that the building will put to commercial use, such as offices, cafe or restaurant.
The Residency, built in 1927, represents one of our town’s most important and last remaining intact historic house still open to the visiting public and tourists. It is of unique heritage significance as the “seat of administration” for the short-lived period (1926 – 31) when central Australia enjoyed legislative independence from the rest of the Northern Territory
Heritage Alice Springs Inc (HAS) has, for the last eight years, kept the place open to tourists and locals alike, holding annual events such as the Annual Flower Show and our Collector’s Fairs, numerous small public events such as history presentations and book launches, as well as a venue for community group meetings and exhibitions by local arts and crafts.
Although only a volunteer organisation with limited fund-raising capacity, HAS has in the past taken on as many of the expenses as it could to keep the place open, but the Occupancy Lease we were presented with last year could not be accepted, as it demanded our association essentially take on all responsibility and costs for operating the place, something that would have been financial suicide for our group.
Although the NT Government is looking to make savings and raise revenue wherever it can, we believe that converting The Residency to any other use will impact adversely upon the heritage tourism sector and affect the local economy to an extent far greater than the economic benefit the NT Government hopes to achieve. Its conversion to private use will hurt the whole of the town.
Chairman, Heritage Alice Springs Incorporated
PHOTOS: Top – Libby King (red hat) and Lilly Jodson, keen gardeners, dressed up for the flower show in the historic Residency yesterday. Middle (from left): Sue Ride (show judge), Jose Petrick, who announced the winner, and Mignon Williams (flower show organiser).
Residency is at risk, says heritage group
LETTER TO THE EDITOR