And now for the next council project: Have the rubbish dump in the middle of the town. To be sure, the "landfill" (pictured) isn't moving – although it clearly should be. But the town is, with significant development to the south. Yet the council, very quietly, is negotiating to acquire land adjacent to the dump, locking it into position forever and a day. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Housing blocks will go on the market for $160,000 to $180,000 average in the new Kigariff suburb and its development is 18 months ahead of the former Labor Government's schedule, Chief Minister Adam Giles told the Chamber of Commerce budget luncheon yesterday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.PHOTO: Kilgariff – the lock will come off 18 months sooner.
The new Regional Development Framework will have an open and transparent link with a cross-agency senior officers group who will ensure that government policies are aligned, that resources are shared, and that regional perspectives are taken into account in government planning and decision making, writes Alison Anderson (pictured), Minister for Regional Development.
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.
ALEX NELSON asks the question after decades of ill-fated developments in the town's main drag, the war between two shopping centres, tinkering with traffic, parking and public use, and lots of government largesse. Should there be a Royal Commission?
Darryl Pearce, who was recently sacked as the CEO of companies which are carrying out the Mt Johns real estate development, apparently still has a hand in the multi million dollar project.
He is the secretary of Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd which – directly or indirectly – appears to be the owner of all the entities bearing a name including the words Lhere Artepe, the town's native title organisation.
This includes the private companies tied up in the multi-million dollar Mt Johns development.
But late today, Michael Liddle (pictured), listed as a director of Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd, said: "I have never signed an agreement to join the company's board.
"The board has never met. As far as I know, there are other directors in the same position as me." PHOTO: Current advertising promoting the land as "re-released" after considerable delays. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
There is land for 860 dwellings in various stages of development in Alice Springs, yet if you wanted to buy a residential block you'd be pushed to find one. And this is counting only 150 dwellings in Kilgariff which will ultimately provide 4500.
Nothing illustrates more how dysfunctional the town's land development "system" is, a key reason for the current exodus of productive, middle-class families.
The biggest major projects – Coolibah Estate, Emily Valley and White Gums – are foundering or are being delayed while at the other end of the spectrum are projects that would make a mining camp appear a leafy suburb (see drawing).
What is a housing block worth? There are so few available that it's difficult to tell.
The hard numbers are for blocks in Stirling Heights, says veteran real estate man Doug Fraser, which went for an average $120,000 in 2006, and Albrecht Drive for an average of $150,000 in 2009.
He says most of the world's towns and cities grow from their fringes: Alice did with Larapinta, Morris Soak, Dixon Road, New Eastside, Sadadeen.
Native title put a stop to this process although the government – as the Opposition tirelessly pointed out – had options of putting the public good ahead of the demands of a minority.
Instead of taking advantage of the vast amount of space around the town, developers had to buy up "infill" such as old caravan parks, at a massive cost, and the residential land crisis was born. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
There's a movement around Australia to arrest urban decline. Alice could follow the example of some other fight backs.
They're bucking a trend: as businesses close down or leave the town centre for another location, they've moved into Gregory Terrace, just around the corner from Todd Mall's busy southern end. They've done a clever and stylish revamp of the former fish 'n' chips shop; they're catering to younger consumers – 18 to 35 years – and doing what it takes to appeal to them: offering an experience, not just a product; a cool aesthetic, and working flexible hours.
Dwayne Chapple and partner Peta Coburn bought the tattooing business, formerly at the Polana Centre on Smith Street, after Mr Chapple had been working in it for three years. "We wanted to get away from the stigma of the old shop, the old tattoo cliches. We wanted to be part of the community, be where the action is," says Mr Chapple.
Stay True Tattooing is a good example of a business recognising the strength of the local younger market, says Matty Day. A former professional skateboarder turned community development activist, he recently joined the business innovation committee started by Alderman Murray Stewart in an attempt to get some creative focus on Alice's declining economic fortunes.
Mr Day is convinced that there is opportunity in the current situation. He is taking his cues from the Renew movement, which began in Newcastle in late 2008, driven by a prominent arts and media identity, Marcus Westbury. Melbourne-based, Mr Westbury had grown up in Newcastle. He found his home city in decline: in the two main streets 150 buildings were empty. The area was widely seen as violent and dangerous; there was a lot of vandalism, graffiti, and growing anger and distrust in the community. His answer was to establish Renew Newcastle. In just 18 months the situation had turned around. The ideas started to catch on: there are now similar revitalisation schemes in Adelaide, Townsville, Geelong and Parramatta. Mr Day says Alice should be next. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Top – Tattoo artist Dwayne Chapple at work. His business has relocated from Smith Street to the town centre: "We wanted to be part of the community, be where the action is." • Above – Matty Day wants Alice to think about rebuilding in our own community instead of putting all our eggs in a hoped for, but maybe elusive tourism basket.
Using the $100m Julia Gillard earmarked for the "Malaysian solution" to build a center for asylum seekers in Alice Springs, which could become the source of sorely needed labour, and moving closely together the dates of the town's iconic events such as Henley on Todd and Camel Cup, giving tourists a reason for staying longer.
These were two ideas floated, by Robert Gates and Peter Grigg, respectively, at yesterday's public meeting called to seek ways of getting Alice Springs out of its doldrums.
About 70 people turned up for the brainstorming, briskly moderated by Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade and hosted by the Town Council. When she asked how many business owners were present only eight hands went up.
"Where are the rest?" asked Ms Eade. "They are letting the town down." Nevertheless, there was much food for thought. Of course, the value of the initiative will be gauged by what becomes reality. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Monte's is proof that in business, if you have the formula right, success is assured. The dozens of pushbikes tied to the fence most days are pedal powered proof of this.
The town council will get $3.5m from the Federal Government towards a $5m project to upgrade the landfill on its present site.
This will include a new waste transfer station, retail reycling shop, weigbridge, security gates and improved road network.
Mayor Damien Ryan says this will help the council achieve its goal to reduce the litter stream to the landfill by 50% over 30 years.
Mr Ryan says he's had a "win win" with the grant which comes from the Regional Development Australia Fund on which he is the Territory's representative.
Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, says this is "a great project that will not only benefit the local community, but the surrounding regional areas as well.
“The project will create growth opportunities for business to use recycled materials, particularly glass, focus the attention of business, industry and government in the region on waste management practices and increase current staffing levels by approximately 50 per cent.
“Currently, businesses outside Alice Springs municipal boundaries are required to take hazardous waste like asbestos across state borders.”
Mr Snowdon says four local government areas will benefit from the project, including the MacDonnell Shire, Central Desert Shire, Barkly Shire Council and Alice Springs Municipality.
Meanwhile Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Adam Giles says while Alice Springs rubbish management needs are now secured for the future, it is unfortunate that funding was not made available for delivering real jobs and real economic development in the region.
Photo: Muddy tracks at the landfill soon to be a thing of the past.