The Redtails have developed a plan to turn their ideals into reality with a privately funded multi million project in the 60 hectare Blatherskite Park.
It started as a Right Tracks initiative “to deal with the troubles of our young people, the dysfunction in the community, currently so prominent,” says manager of the organisation Rob Clarke. “It has grown into a venture with big social as well as commercial values”.
The Redtails Pinktails Right Tracks Program plans to add other sports to Aussie rules, developing on-field skills with those needed off-field, anywhere in life. This will also include pursuits outside sport.
The Blatherskite project will bring money into town from about 20 participants and will depend only on some government money. Mr Clarke says the participants are national and overseas entities and talks are are still commercial in confidence.
“We believe we have the funding available,” he says.
The grounds are government owned and as the government is now in caretaker mode negotiations will need to resume after the election.
However, confidential talks with user and community groups have been under way for 16 months, and will continue, says Mr Clarke.
The massive project will entail building the “bricks and mortar” not only for local users – traditionally equestrian clubs, the annual show and the Camel Cup – but national and international organisations looking for heat training and other uses.
That will mean building accommodation for people training here, and a new or extended stadium, servicing several sports.
Mr Clarke says the planning has been detailed and professional, with top level advice.
The site will become an international showpiece of renewable energy, aiming to be self-sufficient: “We are talking with several non-fossil energy companies. It will be a game changer for our community.”
Utility water will come from the smelly sewage plant next door: “We are looking at various recycling options which may lead to a complete replacement of the evaporation ponds,” says Mr Clarke. “We still need strong consultation with authorities to get the best outcomes.”
He says the gradual transformation of the park will unfold under a strategy that every new user provides the facility he needs, and secondly, does not take away from the town, but adds to it.
There will be features “that tourists will want to come to town for. We aim to create new industries and substantial ongoing employment,” says Mr Clarke.
As the Alice Springs News Online has reported, the park has been in disarray for some years with management and financial problems, and a controversy about competing with privately owned caravan parks.