Senior Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says he would welcome the assistance of prisoners in reducing the fire fuel load south of the Gap, as is being pushed for by the Town Council.
Aldermen passed a motion last night to write to the Department of Lands and Planning "regarding engagement of Correctional Services" to help with this task "south of Heavitree Gap to the Municipal Boundary, incorporating the river and parklands".
Mr Kleeman says the fire service has been doing control burns in the area – including around Amoonguna "where a lot of people have been throwing matches" – and are continuing to do so today, as well as north of Emily Gap.
He says government contractors have also done a major slashing job along the river from John Blakeman Bridge to Colonel Rose Drive. The "trusties" (prisoners) could help to do more slashing, especially in areas where it's hard to get front-end loaders in to clear firebreaks.
While with slashing the fuel remains on the ground, having the grasses lie flat reduces the intensity of a fire that may go through.
Mr Kleeman says the town has been lucky so far to not lose property or life, but the situation could go "pear-shaped" at any time. He encourages the public to prepare their properties and report to police anyone acting suspiciously with fire. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
With deliberately lit fires continuing (80 in the last week) and coming to symbolise a reckless lawlessness threatening the security of the town, a rearguard action on law and order issues by Aldermen Eli Melky and Murray Stewart crashed and burned last night.
It was the Town Council's end of month meeting. The public gallery was more than ordinarily full though not crowded. It included, significantly, MLAs Alison Anderson (Independent) and Adam Giles (Country Liberals), president of MacDonnell Shire Sid Anderson, controversial would-be Country Liberals candidate Leo Abbott, prominent activist couple Steve and Janet Brown, and outspoken general manager of Ingkerreke, Scott McConnell.
In public question time at the start of the meeting Steve Brown put the issues on the agenda, asking council to discuss them in the open part of the meeting. He said he and others in the gallery were "thoroughly tired" of the "forum process", alluding to this evening's community feedback forum on the so-called Community Action Plan to combat crime and anti-social behaviour. Pictured: Fire in the ranges above the MacDonnell Range Caravan Park on Monday. It and other fires burning along the range east of the Gap came from the control burn the Fire Service undertook on the weekend, to bring a maliciously lit fire on Undoolya Station under control. Senior Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says these fires will be useful to reduce fuel load in the ranges and that there are major breaks between them and nearby infrastructure. Meanwhile, there have been 8o deliberately lit grass fires around town. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Sir – I note the advertisement for the upcoming 5th Indigenous Economic Development Forum to be held in Darwin in October (Centralian Advocate, August 26).
In the dim dark recesses of my mind, a memory is stirred – this seems vaguely familiar.
Checking the website revealed this Forum is the fifth one – of the current series.
I’m sure the delegates that attend this year’s forum hosted by the NT Government will leave all fired up to do something about the plight of Aboriginal people and hugely inspired by all that untapped economic potential out there, with lovely warm fuzzy inner feelings.
Fees for camping in the most popular locations of the West MacDonnell Ranges, one of several parks in Central Australia being transferred from public to Aboriginal ownership by the NT Government, have been increased sharply at very short notice.
Meanwhile today (Wednesday) Shadow Environment Minister Kezia Purick says Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, is refusing to confirm Territory Labor’s policy on the co-existence of mines in Territory national parks.
Bunnings has now confirmed the Alice Springs Online exclusive report last Thursday that the hardware giant is coming to town.
The firm is moving to buy a two hectare block at 218 North Stuart Highway (Lot 9186 - see map above).
In a media release today (Monday) Bunnings says the new warehouse, if approved, will create more than 110 jobs for local residents.
"Bunnings plans to invest more than $23 million in the new warehouse which will have a total store size of more than 12,000 square metres consisting of a main warehouse, kid’s playground, nursery, café, and parking for over 200 cars," says Chief Operating Officer, Peter Davis. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.