Life's pretty good in the Old Alice


One of our current Town Council’s better success stories would be the new-look tip. The transfer station with the attached shop are a significant piece of new infrastructure servicing Alice’s future.
I know that as Kilgariff kicks off, and with both Ilparpa and the farm area predicted to grow in coming years, the tip can be seen to be in the middle of town. But what’s the alternative?
Once upon a time both the tip and the sewer ponds could have been placed further out, but no one was thinking south of The Gap back then. That’s hardly this Council’s fault, and without a truly massive injection of new funds, where the tip and ponds now are is where they’ll stay.
The second big-ticket item to Council’s credit is Todd St North. Soon the digging will come to an end, and as shade trees grow to replace the sails the centre of town will change for the better.
The two big negatives, the eastern wall of Alice Plaza and the take-away liquor outlet, are both beyond Council’s control. Hopefully a friendlier example of private enterprise will come with the replacement of the old Commonwealth Bank building.
It will be interesting to see how the Foundation Tree and the new Supreme Court complement each other. Standing tall and working in tandem is my hope.
Outstanding new murals are a welcome addition to our cityscape, and Council has to have signed off on them. I’m thinking especially of the back wall of the ANZ parking lot, the laneway off Gregory Tce, Traeger Park along Gap Road, the bike and skate board park along the highway and the Space Invaders at the corner of Smith and Brown streets.
New roundabouts, improved curbs and guttering, extended sidewalks and bike paths, maintenance of some ninety public parks and a much cleaner town and Todd River are all to Council’s credit.
Here I have to momentarily digress. While I acknowledge that ninety parks means a busy schedule, I am fairly certain the police no longer send motorbikes into the little park on Walmulla St for fear of losing both bikes and riders in the regrowth.
Contrary to some doomsayers, I reckon Alice and its elected council have a bright future. Businesses come and go, crime stats will always attract spin and cheaper airfares would be welcome, but overall there’s nothing to keep us from continuing to be a great place to live.
Now if only Council does not let the multinational insurance companies drive a stake through the heart of our home-grown Bangtail Muster, it can continue to be little brother to our larger signature events. Among others, Henley on Todd and the Finke Desert Race spring to mind.


  1. Hal, this is one where we don’t agree. For us long term locals you are preaching to the converted: we came here and stayed because of The Centre’s fantastic lifestyle.
    And that is why we pipe up when we are confronted by administrative decisions that are plainly wrong.
    The current wisdom of some people in the Town Council is that the rubbish dump should be extended into the Desert Park land, clearly a potential asset to help get our tourism industry out of its slump.
    The garbage transfer station can become the device for rectifying that past mistake of putting the dump where it is now. From there the garbage – about one roadtrain a day – should be carted to a more suitable location, perhaps in the vicinity of Brewer Estate. Instead, some elements in the council want to continue spreading trash over the glorious southern flank of the MacDonnell Range – forever and a day.
    All power to the people who say “nay” to that.
    What to do about the sewerage ponds is also staring us in the face: recycle, and gain water as well as two square kilometers of land unencumbered by native title.
    These issues have been extensively reported in this newspaper – google it!
    So far as the proposed development at the old bowls club site is concerned – I’m responding now to your comment on that report – the notion that it is OK to build a complex where kids aren’t welcome, or that is expressly not suitable for them, is outrageous. Let’s see what the Development Consent Authority will do with that.
    I raised two families in this town, and I couldn’t imagine a better place for it.

  2. @Erwin Chlanda
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 9:10 am
    I don’t think we have any issue with the transfer station. My understanding is that it was built to serve as a way-station with all garbage and the actual tip face to be transferred elsewhere, but that the green waste and other recyclable waste (glass and concrete?) would continue to be processed where they now are and any good stuff would find its way into the tip shop.
    Clearly we can’t fill the Desert Park with our garbage, and I find it hard to imagine even the most jaded bureaucrat proposing such an idea.
    About the sewer farm, and how easy will it be to reclaim that land, especially if the goal is human habitation? Reclaim the water by any and all means. I would fully support any good initiative to further that.
    And on the proposed development for high density housing, it seems futile to say no to singles and couples who are choosing to make a life without children.
    This is a growing demographic across the developed world. It’s attracting grave concern in many quarters, and I recommend It’s Not the End of the World – It’s Just the End of You by Spengler (David P. Goldman) for some very disturbing reading.
    But back to Alice, and if crowded (by your and my standard) living space is what a growing percentage of residents want, then I say build it for them (but build it well), sell it to them, and good luck to all concerned.


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