If the government wants 100 residential blocks in Kilgariff ready for sale "off the plan" by July – the target date, according to minister Adam Giles – then they'll have to get a wriggle-on.
Mr Giles says he's been fighting hard to bring on the subdivision early but apart from the number of blocks, very little seems clear at the minute. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. IMAGE: The approximate area where the first 100 residential blocks will be developed. The circled number 1 is the new Stuart Highway intersection.
A deal to develop 260 residential blocks, a retirement village and shops just outside The Gap is at a stalemate. The picturesque land, 150 hectares on the southern flank of the ranges, off Ragonesi Road, is owned by Ron Sterry.
The project has been limping along for some 10 years with some of the roads, sewerage and storm water drains in place, but no work in progress at present.
Last year a consortium of local and interstate interests made an offer to Mr Sterry with the intention of starting work immediately towards the completion of the development. The head of the consortium, David Cantwell, who co-owns a project management and certifying business in Alice Springs, says the offer is worth $15m. Contracts were drawn up following an undertaking by Mr Sterry to proceed. However, Mr Sterry pulled out of the deal at the "very last moment".
Mr Sterry says: "I rejected the offer because I felt it was not it was not good enough." PICTURE: The picturesque site from the air.
ABOVE: The $10m headworks for the Kilgariff suburb well under way but no word yet on the development deal.
The NT Government is spending $10m on headworks for the new suburb of Kilgariff, but still hasn't made up its mind – or won't tell – how the 1200 block project will be developed.
The usual process for opening up public land for private housing is for the government to call tenders. The winner then puts in the internal services – roads, water, power, sewage, and so on, in accordance with government specifications.
The best guess for this development cost per block is $60,000.
The developer then gets to sell the blocks for whatever he likes – the going rate till recently has been $300,000.
A nice little earner, but no great help for the – at least then – drastic land shortage and the skyrocketing prices.
Robyn Lambley, when successfully campaigning for the seat of Araluen last September, was asked in an interview with the Alice Springs News whether the Kilgariff land should be sold for the development cost.
Ms Lambley said: "That could be an option. Perhaps somewhere in the middle, between market value and the cost of development, is a good place to negotiate."
The News asked: If it’s somewhere in the middle, who would get the profit which would still be around $100,000 a block?
Ms Lambley said: "It would go into the government coffers. You could argue that the profit could be used for interest free loans to people breaking into the first home owners’ market. That would be a neat little package, really."
No matter how vital this debate is for the community, it's not an issue that Karl Hampton, the Minister for Central Australia, will engage in.
The News has been seeking an interview with Mr Hampton since May – no luck.
We caught up with him at the Alice Festival launch last week ...