By ERWIN CHLANDA
A sign erected yesterday telling people they will be prosecuted if they enter into the popular Ilparpa claypans area didn’t last long: It was gone this morning.
Facebook ran hot with comments when Councillor Steve Brown (at right) alerted the public of what he calls “an outrageous slap in the face for locals who have been enjoying that area forever”.
Stephen Brooks, of the Department of Lands, says: “The Ilparpa Claypans are on Crown land and are also registered as a Sacred Site.
“The site has always had signage and they were recently replaced following vandalism.
“The Claypans are susceptible to erosion and damage has been caused by the misuse of motorised vehicles and illegal dumping on the site.”
But Cr Brown says the area has been “a public place of enjoyment for decades and it will remain so.
“There have been all sorts of uses, from windsurfing to picnicing, movie sets and access to the picturesque gullies on the southern flank of the range – a major potential attraction for locals and tourists alike.
“It is a sacred site to all Alice Springs people, it’s just a bullshit excuse for pushing people out.
“It wasn’t me who chopped down the sign but I would not hesitate to remove such an offensive item.”
He says a government plan for the area has been in the too hard basket for too long. Access should be less restrictive than it is in national parks.
It was formerly the commonage, used for stock grazing and the general public.
“We must not keep people out. The fact that some motorists misuse the area is not a reason for closing it, but for controlling it.
He says some people had taken it upon themselves to “police” the area.
“This needs to be stopped,” says Cr Brown.