UPDATE May 15, 10am: Tiger announced today that Alice Springs once again topped the airline's voting poll and that both Alice Springs routes will go on sale this week from about midday today.
Tyranny of distance is a matter of pocket as well as mind: you feel helpless if your mum, or your kid at uni "down south" gets sick and it would cost you more than a thousand dollars to give them a hug. Or if your tourism business is running at half steam because people won't pay through the nose to a carrier that has a monopoly. So when Tiger returned with four flights a week to and from Sydney and Melbourne, Alice became a better place, reports ERWIN CHLANDA.PHOTO at top: The Finke, the oldest river in the world. A majestic view on the flight to Melbourne. RIGHT: Mark Griffiths took his kids Jaidyn and Shanese to Melbourne "to pay our respects" at the Anzac parade and watch the Essendon game.
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?
The photos in this story may end up being some of the last images of the trees and the sails that have been a part of this end of town for the last quarter century, and yet another chapter unfolds of the operation and interaction of business, bureaucracy and government in the Northern Territory. Photos and comment by ALEX NELSON.
Owners of the Alice Plaza would welcome the re-introduction of traffic to the northern end of Todd Mall. Their representative, Tony Bruno, says they have always believed that the mall was too long and that traffic and some convenient, short-term parking would help bring life back to the northern end.
If that were to happen, would the Plaza consider re-orienting its business towards the street?
"Anything's possible," says Mr Bruno. "If the landscape changes that could be looked at."
UPDATE, posted October 7, 2011, 9.40am : Steve Thorne, of Design Urban Pty Ltd, who headed up the design team behind the proposals for revitalising Todd Mall, is "hugely encouraged" by the responses of Alice Plaza interests. "Unless there is a response from retailers and other businesses adjacent to the mall, it is not worth spending millions on bringing traffic back in." Revitalisation can't be done "half-heartedly", he says. "There's got to be a dramatic change in the environment. The mall has suffered 'death by 1000 cuts', through a lack of transparency, activity, vibrancy. "Without those things then what you get is the anti-social behaviour that people don't want."
While Mr Thorne's role in the CBD project has finished for the time being, he has been engaged by the NT Government to chair its Urban Design Advisory Panel and will be keeping a watching brief on what happens in Alice.
Pictured: Top – Musicworld with its back turned to Todd Mall. At left – Could this lively frontage, inside the shopping centre, face the Mall? KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The northern section of Todd Mall (photo above) may be opened up for vehicle traffic again.
Alice Springs News Online understands it is part of CBD revitalization proposals due to be made public by the Town Council in about two weeks' time. Under consideration is the entire mall and the part of Todd Street to KFC at the southern end, as well as a town square on the site of the Hartley Street car park. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA. Photograph (below) shows Todd Street from the north looking south in the 1960s. The picture, supplied to us by Barry Allwright, comes from the Bill and Daphne Vivian Collection, Central Australian Historical Images, Alice Springs Public Library.