Above: Family photo for council’s annual report, back row, Crs Satour, Paterson (Deputy Mayor), Price, Melky; front row, Crs Banks, Auricht, Ryan (Mayor), de Brenni, Cocking.
By KIERAN FINNANE
Last updated 29 October 2019, 1.57pm. Minor edits.
As the town witnesses the unfolding of another heritage debacle – shoddy process, destruction of a major asset, no firm plans for the vacant lot about to be left behind – the Town Council shows no interest.
Not one councillor put up their hand last night for nomination as the LGANT representative on the Heritage Council.
The vacancy had arisen because of Mayor Damien Ryan’s resignation, following his preselection as a CLP candidate in the next Territory election.
Perhaps the lack of interest is not surprising, given the low yield of the process for the community, notwithstanding the Mayor’s previous membership of the heritage body.
Meanwhile, an inadvertent leak sprang during last night’s meeting from the behind-closed-doors wheeling and dealing about a possible CBD site for the proposed national Aboriginal art gallery
Council’s decision to knock back the government’s offer for the Civic Centre was recorded in the minutes of the Development Committee, where the offer had been considered in the confidential section of the meeting held on 7 October.
It became known to the public only when it was resoundingly criticised by NT Ministers Lauren Moss and Dale Wakefield, including by raising a possible conflict of interest for the Mayor as their political opponent.
Last night Deputy Mayor Matt Paterson noted that a division had been called on that resolution and it was not shown in the minutes.
A division is called when a councillor wants their dissent from a majority vote recorded.
So, we now know that there was not unanimous support for rejecting the government’s offer.
It is likely that Deputy Mayor Paterson was the dissenting member, although there may have been others. They would not have included the Mayor who moved the motion, Cr Glen Auricht who seconded it, nor Cr Marli Banks who was absent.
That we don’t know for sure is because while it was decided to bring the resolution out of confidential, the division was to remain in confidential.
Cr Banks asked when it would be appropriate to talk about that “business as it stands”.
CEO Robert Jennings said that business stays in confidential, with the exception of the resolution.
The Development Committee minutes described the agenda item as as a “Site Feasibility Study Proposal (National Aboriginal Art Gallery)”, and shows that actually two resolutions on the subject were carried: the one opposing the sale, the other about continuing to work with the Territory Government on the project.
Moved by Cr Melky, seconded Cr Auricht, it authorised the CEO to work with the government “in forming a multilateral partnership group that can drive forward the National Aboriginal Art Gallery project in an inclusive, effective and consultative manner for the benefit of the Alice Springs community, the Territory and the organisation.”
It will be a feat of diplomacy if the CEO manages to carry that off, given the government’s frustration with, if not antagonism towards council.