By ERWIN CHLANDA
Several new areas for urban as well as rural living are included in the draft of the Alice Springs Regional Land Use Plan launched today.
The “study area” extends beyond the current municipal area to take in Brewer Estate, Pine Gap and the jail to the south, part of Undoolya Valley (earmarked “urban”) to the east, and part of Amoonguna to the south-east.
A substantial area around the current Larapinta Valley development is also marked “urban” while most of the area around the existing town, north of the Gap, is marked “conservation” – taking in the Telegraph Station national park.
Other “urban” areas are the eastern Mount Johns Valley, Emily Valley and Kilgariff.
A big area around Brewer Estate is marked “rural”.
Two big slabs of land, around the jail and extending north to White Gums (west of Ilparpa) are marked “rural lifestyle”.
The draft says: “Previous experience in the Alice Springs housing market demonstrates the problems that occur when the supply of adequate and affordable serviced land for housing lags behind demand.
“The plan seeks to ensure that suitable land is identified for efficient residential development long into the future. Recent analysis has identified land requirements to accommodate a short term population of 32,000 and a long term population of 40,000.”
The areas for more residential land are (with comments from the draft plan):-
• Mount John’s Valley, south-east of the existing residential area of Mount John’s, is “of high amenity, being located at the base of the Ranges. Property values in the existing Mount John’s suburb are the second highest in Alice Springs. The land is not constrained by topography and does not contain any known sacred sites.
• Emily Valley has planning approval for a 264 lot residential subdivision granted in 2005, and then further extended in 2014. Coolibah Tree Estate represents a clear opportunity for residential development. Some additional 95 hectares of land remain potentially available for further development in Emily Valley … with a mix of allotment sizes.
• Undoolya was established as part of a satellite township when population growth in Alice Springs was relatively high. It is unlikely that the land at Undoolya will be required to support a population of 32,000 to 40,000 persons. However the land should remain identified to potentially accommodate long term future growth.
The draft says: “The land use plan supports infill residential development, particularly within the CBD. Consideration will also be given to dual occupancy housing in order to increase residential densities within established urban areas.”
The draft comments on the access to Stephens Road when an additional 6,000 vehicles per day are using it.
“The following options could be further explored in such investigations:-
• a Connector Road between Stephens Road and Sadadeen Valley Road, which will provide a road link to the existing Stott Terrace bridge; or
• a bridge to provide access in lieu (or addition to) the Stephens Road causeway crossing (known as Taffy Pick).”
Other new traffic measures will be required.
“High crash rates have been experienced at the signalised intersections on Stott Terrace (i.e. at Bath Street, Hartley Street and Todd Street),” says the draft.
“Upgrades to improve safety at these intersections should be considered as traffic demands increase, particularly if the Sadadeen Connector Road is provided.
“The intersection of Wills Terrace and Hartley Street forms a four-way intersection with the Anzac Hill High School access point opposite Hartley Street. It is considered that this intersection should be upgraded. The installation of traffic signals could be considered.
“The roundabout treatment at the intersection of Stuart Highway and Bradshaw Drive will be required … for the increased traffic volumes on the Stuart Highway, particularly given the close proximity of the railway crossing adjacent to Bradshaw Drive.”
The draft suggests a “hierarchy of activity centres” comprising the CBD and local centres should be identified which:-
• reinforces the primacy of the Alice Springs CBD;
• establishes an efficient and equitable framework for the distribution of retail, tourist, commercial and other community needs and provides a range of residential opportunities within and/or adjacent;
• maximises local employment opportunities to encourage diversification of the economy;
• encourages active transport including walking and cycling and enhanced access to public transport;
• fosters liveable and sustainable communities.
The Planning Commission is now seeking further public comment from which the commission will prepare a final draft, which the Lands Minister – after further public comment – will consider for adoption.
By ERWIN CHLANDA