LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … with apologies to Charles Dickens.
Our two cities, Darwin and Alice Springs, are both struggling with their open spaces.
In both locations cherished Territory assets are at risk.
In Alice Springs, the Town Council and community leaders are fighting to save Anzac Oval, a jewel of green open space in Anzac Park under Anzac Hill. There is an ongoing threat to subsume this space for the building of a National Aboriginal Art Gallery.
So, two thoughts here.
Surely the gallery is a worthy endeavour for Australia as whole and Alice Springs has a multitude of suitable spaces connected by a modern road network that, when tourists return, provides a diverse mosaic of day trips.
Why take a cool, green, heavily utilised public open space that contributes to the mystic of the experience from Anzac Hill and represents a long history of local endeavour in the sporting arena?
Now in Darwin we are going to lose the Esplanade to a City of Darwin Council that has stepped away from its mandate as the protector and enhancer of Darwin city’s cherished Territory assets.
The definition of an Esplanade is a long, open, level area, typically beside the sea, along which people may walk for pleasure.
Nowhere in that definition do reasonable people see an opportunity for profit making and despoliation at the instigation of our elected officials.
There is nothing to stop the City of Darwin going ahead with the commercialisation of our public open spaces other than public opinion.
Now is the time to write to the individual councillors, they are there to represent the community and remind them that an asset of such integrity as the Esplanade has managed to get this far untarnished.
Also, write to the Chief Minister and your (re) elected local member expressing your opinion. Over 11,000 residents of the City of Darwin have identified as being against this project. That is 1 in 8!
For more information see here.
PLan, the Planning Action Network Inc, is a volunteer community group working for better urban and rural planning in the Northern Territory.
Nick Kirlew, Convener, PLan