Thursday, June 20, 2024

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HomeIssue 6Alice on track for athletics

Alice on track for athletics

p2230-Head-Street-ovalLETTER TO THE EDITOR

Sir – Alice Springs athletics is to receive a much-needed budget boost with the Territory Government providing funding for a new, first class track. $2m has been dedicated to the project as part of Budget 2015.
The Government is committed to providing access to the best possible sporting facilities for Territorians. This investment is all about getting people active and making it easier for locals to compete on high quality grounds.
This infrastructure is a significant step forward for athletics in the Red Centre with the new track available for school athletics carnivals and the Alice Springs Masters Games.
The new national standard track will be only the second in the Northern Territory.
The Alice Springs track will be built at Rhonda Diano Oval (pictured) in Head Street, Braitling, and will include a 400 metre track with eight lanes, and track and field event facilities as well as oval fencing.
The finer details will be worked out with Alice Springs Town Council but it is a wonderful decision for Alice Springs, a boost for Central Australia and will be a great asset for local athletics organisations and schools.
Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan said: “Alice Springs Town Council welcomes this wonderful opportunity for athletics clubs, schools and community groups to access a new athletics track.”
Adam Giles 
Chief Minister 
Gary Higgins 
Minister for Sport and Recreation


  1. Where is the public consultation? This oval is the only well used, quality and maintained area of public open space within about a 2km radius.
    Many individuals and community groups use this area at all times of the day (AFL training, cricket and other impromptu ball games, flying kites, sitting quietly to read, eating a pizza and watching the sunset, school sports carnivals, dog walking and the list goes on).
    Braitling Primary School relies on the student drop off area. The community has already lost access to the basketball courts, play equipment and cricket nets when a fence was erected around the Braitling Primary School.
    This is one of the only areas in the north part of Braitling where there seems to be a sense of community (particularly after work on weekdays).
    People use this area because all the other areas of public space in Braitling either aren’t big enough, are not maintained, do not have grass, feel unsafe (hidden from public view etc), do not have seating, car parking etc.
    A quick look on Google Earth suggests that Gillen has at least four ovals – What are the Centralian Middle School ovals used for?
    The people of Braitling and the wider Alice Springs community do not want to see this popular asset fenced off and not available as public open space.

  2. Whilst investment of this kind in Central Australia is well overdue I agree with Anonymous.
    If Head Street oval was fenced off North side residents would loose a well utilised public space.
    Surely there are alternative ovals that could accomodate such an asset without Braitling loosing theirs.

  3. Prompted by the concern of some residents on the project, I wrote to the council for clarification, as follows:
    “I write as a concerned resident about the proposed closure of one of the park of Head St. This park would be for the use of a club only.
    I heard the rumours and I would like an yes or no answer before I go further.”
    The council replied:
    “I’m not sure which park you are referring to. Council is currently looking at the possibility of installing a new athletics track at Rhonda Diano oval however this is only at the design and feasibility stage.
    “If the project was to go ahead the facility would not be for exclusive use for any specific club, the facility would be for the Alice Springs community to use.”
    Hopefully we will have an open public consultation before the project goes ahead, because I cannot see how the facility will be for all if it is fenced.

  4. Head Street oval (Rhonda Diano) is an amazing site every evening: not only do residents of all ages enjoy the space for recreation of many different kinds but also as an important meeting point to socialize.
    For some older members of the community, it is their main daily contact with others for not feeling isolated.
    As much as an athletic track may be a good idea somewhere else, to build it in this particular park would be a huge loss for everybody living in this area.
    As for the fence, Braitling residents do not need another one, next to another one. I am looking forward to the public consultation meetings.

  5. Rhonda Diano oval … If you live on Eastside, you wouldn’t know.
    It is a gem in the northern area of Braitling, where the whole community enjoys, at all hours of day, the open space, the view on the hills, the well maintained grass area, the coolness of summer evenings, the sport amenities available to “Little Athletics” and the Master Games.
    Only there can dads take their kids for a run or cricket training, the area is already of Olympic size with eight lanes for the 400m, and all other track and field events.
    And, as a gift to the less sport inclined, there is the pizza shop behind and plenty of sitting benches for lazy talks while dogs meet their canine friends.
    In my 30 years experience in this town, this is the only park which is used happily by all with a feel of freedom and a non-discriminatory community spirit.
    But Alice seems to have been hit by a disease: the need for protective enclosures!
    Wherever you go there are fences, not even pretty cottage white picket fence, but high, solid steel, prohibiting, limiting.
    Soon we’ll need an ID at the gate to have a run at sunset, and the rates will increase by more than 6% as fencing does not come cheap.
    Please whatever the reasons, Braitling says Do Not Fence Diano Park! And remember, the Chief Minister is the MLA for Braitling.

  6. Instead of using established parks, why not ask Aborigines’ communities if they would like some of their land being used for recreational / sporting purposes? After all our government was pushing for a radioactive dump on Aborigines’ land!
    A sporting complex would be more appropriated and of good Public Relations.


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