This week as it was Halloween I was going to go out to the area known as ‘little America’ and look at the decorations and maybe make some querulous comments about the relative sprawling, leafy grandeur of the
suburb but as it was a dark and stormy night … well of course it was dark, why do scary tales always start like that? Actually it was just a very, very rainy night. Perfect bath weather, a night for staying home, drinking red wine, eating cheese for dinner and early to bed. So instead of Halloween and little America, I’m writing about some of the things I contemplate over a couple of 10-hour days behind a coffee machine.
A youth curfew is official Town Council policy. It's called a "Night Time Youth Strategy" and one of its measures is to have unsupervised children 15 years and under "taken into protective care and custody if found on the streets of Alice Springs at night" between 10pm and 5am. It's been on council's books since November 27, 2006.
It appears Mayor Damien Ryan was unaware of that: He tweeted on September 2, well before the matter came before the council again later that month: "I do not support a Youth Curfew, this proposal is not a #alicecouncil position."
As council prepared to formally vote down Alderman Eli Melky's youth curfew motion on Monday, Ald Murray Stewart reminded his colleagues of the anomaly. If they were going to vote against Ald Melky, they really should also put a recision motion to the meeting on this policy: it would be "disingenuous" not to. Mayor Damien Ryan, in the chair, knocked that idea on the head. He asked for debate on Ad melky's motion to be limited to presenting new information. Ald Melky attempted to oblige by responding to points previously raised by Mayor Ryan in objection to the proposed curfew. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) says only the directors of Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC) can call meetings of the estate groups for the purposes of nominating LAAC directors and members.
This means the 10 people selected last week by the group seeking to reform the organization cannot be considered as having been nominated.
ORIC head Anthony Beven says: "The Mparntwe estate group held its nomination meeting on 25 October in Alice Springs. ORIC officers attended the meeting."
The Alice Springs News Online has learned that the officers were asked to leave the meeting and did.
Says Mr Beven: "The meeting was adjourned by the members to 3 November 2011 [yesterday] as not all the apmereke-artweye and kwertengerle were in attendance at the meeting on 25 October.
"I have no knowledge of a Mparntwe estate group meeting being called for Monday, 31 October by the directors of Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation under rule 15 of the rule book [governing the nominating].
"The meeting on 3 November was the properly constituted meeting of the Mparntwe estate group for the purposes of rule 15 of the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation rule book.
"I am aware that the Mparntwe Aboriginal Corporation held its annual general meeting on Monday (31 October 2011).
"The Mparntwe Aboriginal Corporation and the Mparntwe estate group are two different groups but have similar membership."
TheAlice Springs News Online understands ORIC officers did not attend yesterday's Mparntwe meeting.
REPORT POSTED NOV 3:
The group seeking to reform Alice Springs’ native title organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC), is confident that it is getting the upper hand.
“It’s about returning the traditional structure back to the control of the native title holders rather than an alleged select few,” says Ron Morony (at left), a special director of the Antulye estate group.
The organisation has been in turmoil over allegations that a small clique has assumed control amidst suspicions of unauthorized spending of funds, bullying, stacking of meetings and ignoring the traditional power brokers known as the Apmereke-artweye and Kwertengerle. Michael Liddle (above, right) says that members of one family have been too dominant in that group, to the disadvantage of five or six other families in the moiety. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The Town Council has supported Alderman Jane Clark in her request for a report from officers on establishing a tree register, with pruning or removal of significant trees being subject to council approval. Ald Clark put her motion to council after contact from constituents expressing their concern over the destruction of mature trees in the ANZ carpark last weekend.
Steve Thorne, Chair of Northern Territory Urban Design Advisory Council,
who headed up the consultant team on the revitalisation of the Alice Springs CBD, has also suggested the establishment of a tree register, as part of an effort to halt the "death by a thousand cuts" that is occurring in our town centre.
Says Mr Thorne: "The slow removal of quality buildings and trees in the public realm in Alice Springs has previously been described as 'death by a thousand cuts'. This refers not only to the removal of good things to look at and experience, but to the economic consequences as Alice becomes less attractive in the broadest sense.
"For these reasons alone it may be time for the community to record those places and objects which give Alice Springs its character. I feel that a survey should be undertaken and the significant trees in Alice should be mapped, photographed and registered."
Meanwhile, Ald Murray Stewart has proposed the formation of a "taskforce" to boost business confidence. Business needs "a shot in the arm" and it needs to happen as soon as possible, he said, but nobody mentioned the $5m 'shot in the arm' that council is sitting on until the middle of next year – the revitalisation projects. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The ANZ carpark – from which all vegetation including mature trees was cleared on the weekend – is owned by Yeperenye Pty Ltd.
Alice Springs News Online asked the company why the trees had been chopped down and whether it was aware that it was recommended that these trees be protected as part of the revitalisation plans for Parsons Street. The company released a statement which says in part that the trees had caused "major water ingress problems" to the adjacent properties. The statement does not respond to questions about the revitalisation plans. Pictured: The scene of destruction last Saturday seen from Leichardt Terrace. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Mature trees, including red gums, have been chopped down in the ANZ carpark on the corner of Parsons Street and Leichardt Terrace. Yet these very trees were supposed to be protected for their contribution to the Parsons Street "biodiversity corridor" that is envisaged as part of the revitalisation of the CBD.
The plans for this and other projects identified after a three year consultation process are currently on display at the Town Council, which has $5m in its kitty to start the work.
The idea of the biodiversity corridor is to connect the ancient red gum west of the Sails with the Todd River. Mike Gillam was commissioned to develop a creative brief for the project and wrote about it extensively for this site on October 13.
In the brief he advises specifically that we "protect existing mature red gums including those in the carpark behind ANZ. These provide a vital stepping point in the sightline between the [ancient red gum] and the river". It's now too late. Pictured: The scene of destruction this afternoon. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
UPDATE:See below for statement from the landowner, Yeperenye Pty Ltd.