The town centre is turned into a place where locals mingle and visitors are welcomed. Concerts are held for 3000 people. Beautiful spaces take the place of ugly car parks. The Mall no longer turns into a sinister ghost town when the sun sets, and where tourists are warned not to go.
Anti-social behaviour no longer flourishes in this void.
The place is buzzing with people living right there, in 60 or 70 apartments in the heart of The Alice, marketed through pre-sales and built to order, from one to three bedrooms. Pie in the sky? It's closer than you think. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.PHOTO: Flynn Church during a night market and with "video architecture" projection during last year's Alice Desert Festival.
UPDATE DEC 19: The scheme as it is intended by Minister Elferink is "a good concept" for employers and Aboriginal employees, but many obstacles will need to be dealt with, says Chamber of Commerce Executive Officer Kay Eade.
"If you are sentenced in the NT you are sentenced to a job and a future."
This is the motto for ground breaking prison reform being introduced by NT Attorney General John Elferink (pictured above left) who is also responsible for correctional services.
It will give inmates the opportunity of taking on paid work "inside the prison system or beyond its boundary," says Mr Elferink. ERWIN CHLANDA reports and in a comment piece says that this is a visionary move that deserves public and bi-partisan support. PHOTO: Mainstream work paid at award rates to replace mindless tasks now performed by prisoners.
Above: Cr Steve Brown at the turnoff (in progress) into the new suburb of Kilgariff. He says council should make sure the development of affordable residential land there becomes a top priority for the NT Government.
Publicly funded institutions will be getting marks on a monthly basis for what they are doing – or not doing – for Alice Springs, if newly elected Councillor Steve Brown gets his way.
"We'll be marking them up or down," he says, "and the results will be made public."
This evaluation of "key performance indicators" will embrace Federal, state and local government instrumentalities and departments, as well as the myriad of local non-government agencies (NGOs) funded from the public purse, including Aboriginal organisations.
Performance will be judged from the perspective of the town council "because it is the town's principal elected body" and would be in charge of the initiative. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The Alice Springs News normally closes over the holidays but this time we're challenging our readers to make room for reflection about our town's future in the merriment of the season.
Our decision to go exclusively online in March has been massively vindicated by the subsequent traffic growth on our site.
Since July monthly visits increased 31% from 9906 to 13,012, and page views skyrocketed 76% from 16,920 to 29,792.
Our readers' comments section blossomed, and more than ever in our 18 years of weekly publication, we're the ideas forum of The Alice.
Each week over the festive season, when great food on the table is a pleasure, we're asking you to give Food For Thought a go as well.
Locals prominent in their field, until the end of January 2012, will set the scene for this debate each week.
Then it's over to you, to use our comment box, to agree, argue, protest, expand, praise, cane. You're not limited to just one response: Ranging far and wide will enrich the debate. Take aim at the panelists' points – as well as what other correspondents have to say.
Our usual news reporting will resume on February 2, 2012.
Till then, tell us what YOU think needs to happen in 2012, with Town Council and Territory Parliament elections as political high-points.
Other panel members include:-
CEO of the National Transport Hall of Fame.
The local champion of lateral thinking has parlayed the Hall into the town's top private and volunteer initiative. When this year visitation dropped Liz swapped focus to big functions. How can this kind of "never say die" thinking be applied to the town's current woes?
Photographer, environmental campaigner.
Why looking after our natural heritage and assets is good for our community and good for business. And how we can do it better.
Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce.
When things get though the tough get going. Kay strutted a no-nonsense attitude at a string of recent public functions: Enough talk, more action.
Senior Mparntwe (Alice Springs) custodian. Successful tourism operator over three decades. Toxic infighting has given native title a bad name. How can this be stopped and in what way will the town benefit from its Aboriginal heritage?
Publication December 29. Deadline December 22.
Tourism Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy says a new Tourism Strategic Plan is needed to guide the industry from 2013. Will Alice still have a tourism industry then, and what needs to happen to ensure it will? Deb has been in the tourism industry for 20 years, currently running a Bed and Breakfast, and has a history in sales, marketing, car rentals, tours, inbound and promotion in Sydney and overseas.
A community development worker with over three decades of experience in working with Aboriginal people in town camps and remote communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland. He will look forward to where we would hope to be when the sun sets on the current 10-year second phase of the Federal Intervention into Indigenous affairs in the Territory.