The five mayoral candidates will no longer face one another in a single forum.
Charles Darwin University had advertised a debate, Vote 1 4 Alice, for March 20.
An invitation had been sent to Mayor Damien Ryan but his challengers didn't get an invite, according to one of them, Steve Brown
They meanwhile accepted the invitation of Mez Elliott who described herself as a part-time announcer and producer with Radio 8HA, to a meet-the-public occasion at the RSL on the same night.
Radio 8HA manager Roger Harris says Ms Elliott is not a producer with 8HA but "occasionally stands in on shifts when an announcer is away".
Hosted by Territory Today presenter Adrian Renzi, the RSL function will not be a debate but a question and answer session, also open to councillor candidates.
Mayor Ryan, however, will not be present, as once he became aware of the CDU cancellation, he accepted another invitation, addressing a visiting group.
A media release from CDU says: "The university accepts that no one’s interests are served in having two debates on the same night and that there is insufficient time to organise an alternative date.
"The university apologises to the mayoral candidates and to anyone else for any inconvenience."
UPDATE: Following the cancellation, Mayor Damien Ryan and Deputy Mayor Liz Martin will be hosting a " Meet the Candidates" night in Stuarts Bush Kitchen at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 22 from 6pm to 9pm.
Alderman Martin says this is not an Alice Springs Town Council initiative.
"We have invited all mayoral and councillor candidates to participate with equal opportunity and have had a good response to date. This is a casual evening that will allow members of the public, particularly those from various associations and industry groups who have already issued questionaires, to chat in an informal setting one on one with candidates to find out where they stand on issues that are important to them."
The evening will include a free sausage sizzle and transport can be arranged for those that dont have it by calling Ald Martin on 0429 201 549.
This week's Food for Thought is by RUSSELL GUY, commentator, writer and music promoter in Central Australia's outback for 31 years. He is a frequent contributor to the comment sections of the Alice Springs News Online. He is also a keen aviator where "eight hours from bottle to throttle" is an unbending rule for pilots in command of an aircraft.
In 2006 – 2007, Australians aged 15 and over consumed on average almost 10 litres of pure alcohol per head. In comparison, average consumption in the NT by the non-indigenous population was over 14 litres, and for indigenous it was more than 16 litres, but Alice Springs is way out in front at around 20 litres per head.
The NT Government says 70% of all alcohol sold in the NT is sold as take-away liquor and that hospitalisation rates due to alcohol are the highest in Australia. The same research relates that alcohol-related deaths occur in the NT at about 3.5 times the rate they do nationally. 55% of road deaths are caused by high-risk drinking in the NT and that in 2009, there were 54,000 incidents of people taken into protective custody due to alcohol misuse. Adults who consumed alcohol, 30% reported drinking alcohol at a risky or high risk level and added that if the NT were a country, then it would be up amongst those countries in the world with the highest rates of per capita consumption. Many studies have identified the correlation between high levels of alcohol consumption and shortened life expectancy.
Is it any wonder booze is shaping up as one of the main issues in the run-up to the local government elections next month?