Thursday, June 13, 2024

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HomeIssue 4New Town Council park imbecilic, says resident

New Town Council park imbecilic, says resident


I live in Lackman Terrace and so have been up close to the changes at Tucker Park in Braitling which are meant to be improvements, I presume.

Water fountain working – well done!

New paths with gravel: Why? It grew weeds, was muddy when wet from watering. Stupid but maybe bearable as it becomes settled.

Mulch of side areas: The obvious problem from the start is that weeds will grow, especially the couch grass already there and will not be able to be mowed. It needs to use herbicide which has obviously been done without any warning or safety signs, and also was used on the weeds on the paths.

Herbicides are subject of legal actions for personal injury overseas. Which one was used and presumably is intended to continue to be used?

Children and small animals are of course more at risk of small dose toxicity from these and possible cancer increased risks. Injurious effect on soil health and wildlife have also been documented with herbicides.

But the coup de grace of Alice Springs Town Council (ASTC) “improvements” reaching imbecility is the bitumenising and rough jagged blue metalling of the paths to nowhere.

One cannot walk on these with bare feet, including my dog’s.

It encircles the play areas; if someone, especially a child, falls when playing they could severely injure themselves with skin lacerations, bruising, broken bones and head injury, potentially leading to lifetime scars and disability which would be compensable.

Meanwhile there are no improvements to any plants, soils, new plantings nor improved grass care (compare with nearby Braitling oval).

I request as a ratepayer and local resident that the changes so far be reversed and that a new plan involving a safe, actual cared for lawn amenity area is created.

At the sides actual native plantings with watering system need to be installed, a cheap, beautiful, sanctuary for wildlife and nurturing for human life.

If current changes are left in place the injury and disease risk, especially to children is, I think, negligent. If sadly a severe injury or illness such as cancer in a child who has used the park frequently occurs it leaves ASTC liable to very large financial risk, injuring not just its finances but also its reputation and honour.

I am a medical practitioner and am aware of the research around risks of current practices and consequences short, medium and long term, to health.

(Dr Bernard Hickey MB BS FRANZCP is a psychiatrist and addiction psychiatrist.)


  1. Mr Hickey, an interesting article and all comments are valid ones. I do question one comment though. “Alice Springs Town Council is liable to very large financial risk, injuring not just its finances but also its reputation and honour.”
    Unfortunately, the ASTC is well protected against any litigation. One would need to employ someone like Shine Layers or Slater and Gordon on a pro bono basis, otherwise you would run out of money.
    It’s not about responsibility and the law, it’s who has the most money to fund such a case. We have seen how the ASTC performs in the public arena and they are not concerned with their reputation or honour and they have made that crystal clear on many occasions.
    More like a totalitarian regime, than a democratic one. All is needed by the ASTC is some common sense and some genuine thought.

  2. Excellent Opinion Piece and thanks for standing tall.
    Unfortunately all the issues you raise are “operational” so subject to strict confidentiality provisions.
    You will never get a response and it would be a waste of time asking a councillor to speak up on your behalf.
    But prove me wrong Councillor Jimmy Cocking and take a stand that reflects your public interest in all things environmental and green.
    I don’t just mean a comment for media but in the council.

  3. Well, biggest whinge I have read for a while. Look out or Alice Springs Town Council might just clear the whole park and sell it.

  4. I wonder why you did not provide any of your thoughts at the numerous public consultations for this park over the last few years? Busy were you, Dr?

  5. What consultations? When? Where?
    I missed out on those too…
    Nor was I aware of the plans to fence off chunks of the linear park between Angguna Ave and Madigan St until it happened over Xmas.
    But I am sure big brother Damien Xiaoping knows best what is good for us.
    Could Alice Springs Town Council consider putting up purple signs like the planning mob require, to draw neighbours’ attention to their plans in time to comment?

  6. @ Alex Hope. On the positive side you were spared the effort of contributing to the decision making process.
    The Alice Springs Town Council does not give any weight to ratepayer opinions and it’s all “operational” (secret).

  7. The Alice Springs Town Council herbicide use is a problem in all parks and public spaces.
    No warning signs are placed after spraying. Nor is coloured dye used, at least not that I’ve observed, to warn parents that spraying has just occurred.
    Neighbours are not informed that spraying on a fairly large scale is being undertaken over the fence from their veggie gardens or children’s play areas.
    I would think this should be of concern to all councillors. Also thanks for the article.

  8. Anther half arsed project from the Alice Springs Town Council.
    The problem with this very nostalgic park (for senior Territorians) is the play equipment.
    It looks like a contemporary namby pamby play gym on a rubber floor.
    They got the brutal, rough jagged metalling of the paths to nowhere and other dangerous features right for the 1960s.
    But the following are suggested:
    Tall swings with solid wooden seats.
    A monkey bar set high above a solid concrete floor.
    A hurdy gurdy made for speed constructed from steel and hardwood.

  9. @ Dr Bernard Hickey: As a medical practitioner would you expect to read about any complaints of your care in an online news source, or would you expect people to contact yourself or your employer to discuss their concerns? Is your approach in line with the conduct that AMA promotes?

  10. Paved paths in parks are for those of us with prams and children who ride their bikes. Fenced parks are so our dogs can have time off the leash safely.
    Look at any research on best-practice public parks.
    If you are really concerned maybe join the Alice Springs Town Council Parks Committee instead of whinging.


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