The Centralian advocate Tue 31 Oct 2017
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06 NEWS TUESDAY OCTOBER 31 2017 CAVE01Z01MA - V1 LOCAL heritage expert Alex Nelson has warned the latest plans to develop the town could be consigned to the history books if we dont learn from past mistakes. The NT Planning Commission has published a discussion paper, and invited input from the public, so it can update the Central Alice Springs Area Plan. The plan could be exactly what the town needs, with stagnant population growth revealed by the latest Census but Mr Nelson showed the Centralian Advocate examples of a number of similar documents published since the 60s, few ideas from which have come to fruition. Its a case of here we go again, Mr Nelson said. I dont want to be too negative about it, but we just need to be conscious of the fact that this is going to be the latest example of the sort of exercise weve been through many times before on future planning directions for Alice Springs. The lifelong Centralian said those involved should be aware of the reasons why none of the grand schemes had been implemented. He said it had little to do with changes in Government, because the CLP was in power through self-government all the way until 2001, with Labor enjoying a long stint after that. Mr Nelson said it was usually outside factors, like a downturn in the economy, which led to the big plans not going ahead. There is a high turnover of population, including within the bureaucracy and in Government, so theres no clear corporate memory of whats been going on before, Mr Nelson said. Essentially we suffer from corporate amnesia. Ideas flagged previously include the development of a satellite town out to the east, near Undoolya station. That was first floated in the Alice Springs Urban Development Study in the 1970s, commissioned by the Whitlam Federal Government. This is where you find the first suggestion of Alice Springs population being expected to grow to somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000 by the turn of the century, Mr Nelson said. The plan was persisted with throughout the 1980s, while other things were happening in town, including the demolishing of the Stuart Arms Hotel to make way for Ford Plaza, now known as Alice Plaza. That was a time when there was enormous develop ment in Alice Springs and excitement about a high growth rate, and developers based their decisions on those sorts of expectations, Mr Nelson said. This was exactly the same time Alice Springs Town Council decided to proceed with the full pedestrianisation of Todd Mall. It was thought Plans case of history repeating Andrea Johnston Alice Springs historian Alex Nelson with copies of the 1969 Town Plan and the recommendations for the plan that's currently under development Picture: EMMA MURRAY Above and top right: Historic articles from the Centralian Advocate about grand plans for development many of which never materialised facebook.com/NT.DIPLwww.nt.gov.au DEPARTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, PLANNING AND LOGISTICS The Northern Territory Government is asking for community feedback to review, reframe and renew our planning system. haveyoursay.nt.gov.au 09 82 C S