UPDATE, December 8, 2011: Plantings are underway in amongst the blue metal. See Mike Gillam's comment posted on the full story page for the latest.
Yeperenye Pty Ltd appears to be putting itself in contention for the Alice Springs landscape design award, with this effort at its carpark adjacent to the ANZ bank on Parsons Street.
After chopping down mature trees, including a number of river gums, and clearing all other vegetation from the area in late October, the company promised that a "beautification program" would follow shortly. It was to include "smaller, safer trees and shrubs". Perhaps they're coming, though not many people would start a garden by spreading thick piles of blue metal. KIERAN FINNANE comments.
The Alice Springs News Online has invited Yeperenye Pty Ltd to respond. To date they have not done so.
The Town Council has supported Alderman Jane Clark in her request for a report from officers on establishing a tree register, with pruning or removal of significant trees being subject to council approval. Ald Clark put her motion to council after contact from constituents expressing their concern over the destruction of mature trees in the ANZ carpark last weekend.
Steve Thorne, Chair of Northern Territory Urban Design Advisory Council,
who headed up the consultant team on the revitalisation of the Alice Springs CBD, has also suggested the establishment of a tree register, as part of an effort to halt the "death by a thousand cuts" that is occurring in our town centre.
Says Mr Thorne: "The slow removal of quality buildings and trees in the public realm in Alice Springs has previously been described as 'death by a thousand cuts'. This refers not only to the removal of good things to look at and experience, but to the economic consequences as Alice becomes less attractive in the broadest sense.
"For these reasons alone it may be time for the community to record those places and objects which give Alice Springs its character. I feel that a survey should be undertaken and the significant trees in Alice should be mapped, photographed and registered."
Meanwhile, Ald Murray Stewart has proposed the formation of a "taskforce" to boost business confidence. Business needs "a shot in the arm" and it needs to happen as soon as possible, he said, but nobody mentioned the $5m 'shot in the arm' that council is sitting on until the middle of next year – the revitalisation projects. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The ANZ carpark – from which all vegetation including mature trees was cleared on the weekend – is owned by Yeperenye Pty Ltd.
Alice Springs News Online asked the company why the trees had been chopped down and whether it was aware that it was recommended that these trees be protected as part of the revitalisation plans for Parsons Street. The company released a statement which says in part that the trees had caused "major water ingress problems" to the adjacent properties. The statement does not respond to questions about the revitalisation plans. Pictured: The scene of destruction last Saturday seen from Leichardt Terrace. KIERAN FINNANE reports.