By ERWIN CHLANDA
Fracking has emerged as a prominent issue in Saturday’s town council by-election, say candidates after checking the voters’ pulse on issues.
Jamie deBrenni (pictured at left) says he is impartial: “I will give everyone the courtesy of listening to them before making up my mind about fracking.
“It is not a council issue, but I am willing to listen to both sides.”
Jacinta Price (pictured at right) says she’s aware that conventional franking over some 50 years “has not impacted our environment, but we need to know more about unconventional franking before we do it”.
She says our groundwater is a major concern.
“Fracking is not necessary. We can do our part in lowering energy consumption, in our community and globally, boosting renewable and green energy. We’re in the sunniest part of the world.”
Jason Quin (pictured at left) is against fracking.
Council candidate Caroline Phelps says: “Fracking has been raised as a very important issue by many Alice Springs voters over the last week, and one that I hope to address if elected.
“Whilst a number of exploration licenses have been issued, to date no commencement has taken place.
“It is a huge issue and concern, but one that both the Local Government and the NT Government support.”
Ms Phelps is taking a cautious view of the functions of local government.
She says it should spend its money “wisely and fairly on recreational parks, sporting facilities, footpaths and investments on areas committed to, solar energy and roads.
“Council should support community events and initiatives.”
She says the commitment of the council to the community had been one reason for her choice of living in Alice Springs, along with the “red dust, community spirit, talented children and sports people”.
Ms Phelps (pictured at right) says: “The council has formed great networks both within the Alice Springs CBD, local business, environmental groups and business supports, as well as individuals and Indigenous organisations.”
Meanwhile Mr deBrenni says canvassing has revealed a string of issues to him.
They include the Ida Standley school’s needs for better traffic control in South Terrace with the increase of vehicles from the Mt Johns subdivision.
If elected he will encourage the continuation of pop-up shops the Mall.
There is a market for local business crushing and recycling concrete and supply it as road construction material, saving money on the supply of the material as well as on dumping concrete. As a road base it even provides extra strength, says Mr deBrenni.
He is looking at using the well-lit quarter mile drag strip as an venue on summer evenings, for a Mall market style event on one side, and community stalls on the other, canvassing for members and promoting their activities.
Ms Price says changes to town planning, especially the eight storey building height, concerned many locals, impacting on “our wonderful skyline that draws people here”.
Ms Price says anti-social behaviour and youths on our street are issues “that we need to tackle as a community,” strengthening care “for children from families where alcohol is an issue”.
The other three candidates did not respond to invitations to be interviewed by the Alice Springs News Online. According to the Central Australian Frack Free Alliance, Ryan Callander, Vince Jeisman and Barb Shaw are opposed to fracking.
CARTOON: Flash-back to the town council elections of 1980. George Smith “St. George” slays the dragon – a cartoon by Butch Peverill published for George Smith’s campaign for re-election as Mayor. Most of Smith’s campaign rivals are depicted in the background. They are John Reeves holding a tree branch (a reference to his chairmanship of the local Australian Conservation Foundation branch), feminist Dawn Riley burning a bra, and Wayne Thomas, a prominent car salesman, bouncing on car springs. One campaign rival, Gino Marinucci, is missing from the line-up.
By ERWIN CHLANDA