Murray Stuart for Councillor: Boost commerce and turn the Todd River into a playground for the town. Photo: Mr Stewart, who was born blind. “It makes me see with my brain a little brighter,” he says. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
During my time as an alderman of the Alice Springs Town Council I fought the introduction of a media policy for years. It came before council twice. It was defeated twice.
The core reason was that elected members are not bureaucrats, not staff members. They do not represent the council but the ratepayers and the people of Alice Springs, writes Murray Stewart.
The chair and founder of the Desert Sports Foundation, Murray Stewart (pictured), says Framptons Real Estate principal Andrew Doyle had withdrawn two teams from his company from a children's charity event.
Mr Stewart says he had a call from one of Mr Doyle's staff this morning saying Mr Doyle did not wish to "give money to Murray's charity".
The exchange followed the publication yesterday of a comment by Mr Stewart and his wife, Brigida, on a story in the current Alice Springs News Online edition.
Mr and Mrs Stewart expressed support for the News following this week's Supreme Court decision in a defamation case brought by the other Framptons principal, David Forrest.
Mr Stewart says Mr Doyle phoned him yesterday, expressing his annoyance over the Stewarts' comment.
Mr Stewart says after the cancellation today of the Frampton teams' participation he left a message for Mr Doyle about the matter but did not receive a response.
When asked by the Alice Springs News for a comment Mr Doyle emailed today: "It’s not true, publish at your own peril" and later provided a further comment.
We put this to Mr Stewart and he has subsequently spoken to Mr Doyle.
Of that phone call Mr Stewart says: "He said, with great clarity, 'following the phone call I had with you yesterday, I'm not prepared to spend David Forrest's money on that'." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The graffiti removal by-law, requiring property-owners to remove graffiti or else face a possible fine, will stay. In a five to three show of hands at last Monday's Town Council committee meeting his colleagues rejected Alderman Eli Melky's motion to remove the by-law.
For his pains Ald Melky earned something of a dressing-down from CEO Rex Mooney, a rare intervention by the executive in aldermanic debate in my time of observing council meetings.
Mr Mooney objected strongly to Ald Melky's challenge that the by-law offended against the Local Government Act. As the Solicitor-General of the Northern Territory had approved the by-laws, this could not possibly be so, said Mr Mooney and Ald Melky's arguments were sending "the wrong message" to the community. KIERAN FINNANE reports. PHOTO: Graffiti aren't new to town – this one was on a wall in the industrial area in 2009.
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.