There are ripples of activity at either end of Todd Mall. At the southern end, a new travel shop is shouting out from the corner of Gregory Terrace and Todd Street, the first business to open there after a string of closures and relocations. And at the northern end, there's a new cafe, Ziggiz, and this week Piccolo's restaurant relocated to where Oscar's used to be.
No-one can have missed the artwork on the travel shop, but inside there's more to it than its new look and the usual booking service. The core attraction is access to Wicked Campers. The shop's been open about two weeks. Customers are coming in off the street and online. There's a good mix, says Manager Sara Bangs: "We've had a couple in their sixties taking a car, it's not just for backpackers."
Asher Tuzewski is the man behind Ziggiz cafe, tucked into a little shopfront of the cinema complex. It opened about three weeks ago.
They start early, by 7.30am, and go till late, the exact time depending on what's happening at the cinema.
"In the cities you can go to a cafe day or night but in Alice Springs there was nowhere like that. We're the only non-alcoholic venue open late. It's a cultural readjustment."
The cafe's presence makes a contribution to improved security in the north end of the mall: "We're an extra pair of eyes in the area and we've been able to help clamp down on some issues."
Asher, who grew up in Alice, sees the cafe as part of a big picture: "I want people to believe in this town." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured, top: Signage you can't miss, the new travel shop on the corner of Gregory Terrace and Todd Street. • Above: Ziggis cafe, a welcome new presence at the northern end of the mall, often a hot spot for anti-social behaviour.
Why an A'van? That's easy: you can fold it down to half its height in 20 seconds and it won't cause the fuel-guzzling drag a normal caravan does.
The A'van – starting price $25,000 – is strong. None of the walls are made from canvas.
The triangles on either side fold on top of each-other, and so do the quadrangles front and back, all resting on the bench tops inside for towing.
They are great for two people on a trip of a couple of weeks (although too small for extended living, having no bathroom, for example).
Why these simple advantages spawned a veritable cult – very benign, to be sure – is a bit of a mystery, until you discover the friendly like-mindedness of the owners.
Photos: Like Doctor Who's telephone box – it's so much bigger inside: June Hicks in her A'van in Alice today, at the MacDonnell Range Caravan Park. Chilling outdoors in The Alice after couple of days of rain. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
All vacancies will be filled on shire councils, with enough nominations coming in by today's deadline. In fact in Central Desert, MacDonnell and Barkly Shires supplementary elections will have to be held as there are now more nominations than vacancies.
In the Anmatjere Ward of Central Desert Shire four people have put up their hands for three seats. They include two former councillors, James Glenn and Dianne Martin. Mrs Martin stood in Southern Tanami Ward, where she lives, but missed out there. You have to live within the shire to stand, but not necessarily within the ward. Southern Tanami is adjacent to Anmatjere.
The other two nominees for Anmatjere Ward are Marlene Tilmouth and Benedy Bird.
In MacDonnell Shire's Rodinga Ward, where there is one vacancy, Rosalie Riley and Louise Cavanagh have nominated.
In Barkly Shire, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, its former president, did not stand March 24, but has now nominated for a councillor position in the shire's Alyawarr Ward. There are two vacancies and four nominations. The others are Timothy Jakara Price, Leslie Morton and Eileen Bonney.
Pictured: Candidates in the Anmatjere Ward supplementary election: Dianne Martin (left) and James Glenn. Both served as councillors during the first Central Desert Shire Council.
Take a look at the Central Desert Shire's "Accounts receivable" summary and you begin to get a picture of the complexity of shire operations. Their debtors range from small local businesses, a plethora of Aboriginal organisations and other NGOs to government departments. Most of it is quite in order, within the normal 30 day turnaround for accounts. But over $500,000 has been owed the shire for more than 90 days and a big swag of this is owed by Territory Housing. As at February 29 the amount was $403,992.06.
Some of that has since been paid. However invoices for over $300,000, relating to work done in 2010-11, are still being verified, according to a statement from the department.
At the last council meeting CEO Roydon Robertson told councillors that a number of shire CEOs had met with the head of the department to try to resolve their "massive concerns", as a result of which a working party was being formed.
This has apparently helped. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Central Australians would get much more influence over their affairs if the Country Liberals gained power in this year's NT election, says Opposition Leader Terry Mills.
In an interview with the Alice Springs News Online yesterday he said locals and the town council will have a greater say about town planning, and stakeholders will be involved in decisions over tourism promotion.
Alcohol control measures will "bring back peace to the streets of Alice Springs" and will have strong mandatory elements. There is no mention of a take-away free day nor a floor price.
The big shires may be broken up so that decision making is brought "closer to the people".
And while policies have yet to be fine-tuned, Mr Mills promises cheap residential land to enable young people to "get a stake in the Territory".
He spoke with editor ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo:Mr Mills addressing protesters outside NT Parliament during its sittings in Alice Springs in last year.