Middle School 'monstrosity' to stay: Minister


p2328-basketball-shelter-1LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – I have spoken with the Minister for Education, Eva Lawler, with regards to the monstrosity parked out front of my home – the basketball structure at Centralian Middle School.
Ms Lawler said: “I encourage you to continue to work with the school principal on noise management strategies.”
She was basically acknowledging the noise nuisance to residents, the screaming, the yelling, slamming the ball against the roof and back board with the effect of someone belting a hammer on my roof.


Ms Lawler also said:  “I do not support removal of the roof / hard shade cover over the basketball courts as the students would not be protected from inclement weather and solar UV radiation and is contrary to providing safe sporting and recreational facilities at the school.”


Well said but what about the residents who have lived in the area prior to the school being constructed?


Imagine living in the same house for 40 years then all of a sudden, without consultation, up pops a monstrosity, restricting views to the ranges and creating unbearable noise.


Ms Lawler: “I understand that you rejected the proposed scheduled noise reduction works that were to be carried out in 2016. As an alternative solution was not identified the funding has been reallocated.”


I rejected a poorly designed wall that basically was a 2.2m brick wall followed by corrugated sheets of iron which would have further impeded our view and created more noise because I am sure the wall would have made a perfect back board for the students, especially the corrugated iron part, thereby creating greater noise.


All the residents ask is for the cover to be removed. If it is desperately needed then a suitable structure needs to be built in an appropriate area and consultation with the residents.


Ron Kern
Alice Springs



  1. Come on Ron, we all understand your concerns but it’s a case of the needs of the many out way the needs of the few.
    See if you can come up with a shade structure that will withstand the elements of children and won’t need constant maintenance.
    I doubt anyone could.
    If you want peace and quiet search for a property out of town … might even be safer.

  2. I admire your persistence Ron, I shop at Milner Meat and have seen the massive structure they have built next to your house, blocking your view of the ranges.
    I can imagine the noise when the stadium is being used.
    Your situation is a disgrace and sets a bad precedent, it could be any of us next.
    The comment telling you to “work with the school Principal” is a mealy mouthed response that really tells you to get stuffed.
    They offered you a poor solution you rightly rejected so now they act as if you turned down a great offer.
    They are bureaucratically playing with you.
    I think they should offer to buy you out at a fair price and incorporate your property into the school grounds.

  3. Sounds like a complaint about the change in vista hidden amongst a complaint about noise and activity.
    I gather that the volume of what would have been pre-existing noise / activity is amplified courtesy of the structure.
    Would be interested to find out whether this is something that was taken into account prior to construction.
    But the cynic in me suggests that the noise isn’t really that bad.

  4. This $1m basketball structure was built in 2010 around the time I was elected as the Member for Araluen.
    It was built in hurry by the Henderson Labor Government without any consultation or even notice given to the local community.
    Ron and his family are some of the local residents that have been directly affected by this “monstrosity”.
    Over the years they (we) have tried to negotiate a compromise with the Department of Education regarding sound barriers and security.
    This structure is a total white elephant.
    If it was built at a different location it would be used night and day by the whole community.
    It currently remains the most underutilised sporting facility in Alice Springs.
    As absurd as this may sound, spending $500k on moving this structure would be in the best interests of everyone and still value for money.
    Robyn Lambley MLA
    Independent Member for Araluen

  5. So the structure was built without even consulting the local community including Ron who was directly in the line of fire.
    If there are no existing rules around construction without local consultation there should be.
    Ron would have seen his property lose 30% of its value as soon as it was built.
    One of the aggravating factors here is that the school in question is unable to exercise adequate control over students including when they are using the facility.
    For example I have seen students using balls as weapons to attack other students and to generate as much noise as possible.
    Teachers have been unable to control them and get sworn at when they persist in trying to stop them.
    I agree with Robyn that the structure should be moved so the stadium can be used by the wider community and Ron have his views and right to peace and quiet restored.

  6. I was born in The Alice, I went to school here, from preschool to high school (ASHS), I bought the house next to the old family home in 2006, which mum and dad built from scratch in 1969.
    Now when I open my kitchen window, all I can see is a eighteen legged monster, cannot see the beautiful ranges. Noise all day and plenty much all night. This is our home, no peace, which we have worked so hard for, live here, work here and I know I will die here, in our beautiful town, ALICE SPRINGS.

  7. Can someone explain this noise issue? Is it because the structure amplifies what would have been existing and non-complained about schoolyard noise?
    Or is it because with the roof, there’s much more activity in that area that might have otherwise been conducted on a rear oval?

  8. Dennis: Minister Eva Lawler’s entire career is within the NT Government and it is likely she is too close to the Education Department to exercise the independence and political judgement required of her position.
    This may be fatal to her political aspirations because she scraped into her seat only the back of a massive swing to Labour, 16% in Drysdale.
    She will struggle to hold the seat come next election.
    Suggest you keep bringing this bastardly issue to the attention of voters.
    At a better time in the election cycle or when she is replaced you are likely to be successful.

  9. My recollection is that the shade structure over the basketball courts was built around the time of the economic stimulus package 2010/2011 (Building the Education Revolution).
    All around Australian there is a legacy of these sorts of projects being rushed through. Keeps the builders in business.


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