Australia: Darwin One Mile Dam town camp residents fear redevelopment plans - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Darwin One Mile Dam town camp residents fear redevelopment plans

23:05  17 november  2019
23:05  17 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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In 1979 Aboriginal people in Darwin were granted a lease over a traditional camping area and By 1997 the community was under threat by town plans that revealed the One Mile Dam lease was to Anthropologist Bill Day is interviewed by ABC journalist Geoff Thompson at a camp of homeless

David Gulpilil joins Aboriginal town camp community leader David Timber and supporters for a rally at the One Mile Dam Town Camp in Darwin Northern

a man standing in front of a building: Mindy Timber says her stepson's One Mile Dam home is one of those set to be demolished. (ABC News: Michael Franchi)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Mindy Timber says her stepson's One Mile Dam home is one of those set to be demolished. (ABC News: Michael Franchi)

Residents of the One Mile Dam Indigenous town camp on the edge of Darwin's CBD say mixed messages from authorities over a demolition plan has left them unable to get answers and fearing for the future of their community.

The town camp's leader Mindy Timber and her daughter Rosemary said they were told by the NT Government's town camp housing maintenance contractor, Yilli Housing, about plans to demolish eight of the 10 houses and buildings at One Mile Dam because of safety concerns about the structures.

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One Mile Dam Community are Custodians of a registered sacred site in the Heart of Darwin . Raw footage filmed at Hillside Road Camp of the Djap Wurrung Embassy protest on the western Highway proposed bypass near Ararat.

A redevelopment plan is an urban plan designed for the purposes of facilitating development in specific geographic areas. In practice, Redevelopment Plans are used to guide how an existing built-up area or neighborhood should develop in the future.

Yilli Housing's chief executive Leeanne Caton told them in a September meeting, which the residents were allowed to record, the organisation would "have to go in and knock down some of those shelters because they're unfit".

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One Mile Dam Community are Custodians of a registered sacred site in the Heart of Darwin . Raw footage filmed at Hillside Road Camp of the Djap Wurrung Embassy protest on the western Highway proposed bypass near Ararat.

One Mile Dam is one of several leases around Darwin won in 1979 after an eight-year campaign for the right to live in camps around town . The Kumbutjil Association is seeking broad community support for its work and against any plans to relocate the camp . David Timber, a resident of the

Mindy Timber said one of the eight houses to be demolished was her stepson's.

"I brought up my stepson here. If it's knocked down, he will have nowhere to stay," she said.

Mindy Timber's house in the camp was renovated by the NT Government last year, as part of the $25 million town camps housing upgrades program.

Yilli Housing said there was one house in One Mile Dam that had been fully upgraded and a number of other structures it referred to as "sheds and shelters" that were "in various states of disrepair".

There are no plans to replace any of the structures slated for demolition or to increase the number of houses in the community.

"There is no current program of works at this stage for One Mile Dam, residents have been advised of this," the Housing Department said.

Mindy Timber said she was worried if the rest of the houses at One Mile Dam were knocked down that would leave her isolated, and open the door to the community's redevelopment when she dies.

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That is what One Mile Dam residents fear and their neighbours hope for. A police officer tells me he He fled his town , 240 kms southwest of Darwin , after his older brother Lenny Dumoo allegedly Many One Mile Dam residents , like Mr Dumoo, have washed up at the camp fleeing violence in

A redevelopment plan is an urban plan designed for the purposes of facilitating development in specific geographic areas. In practice, Redevelopment Plans are used to guide how an existing built-up area or neighborhood should develop in the future.

"I'm not happy because I'm the only one going to stay, and all my kids will be gone," she said.

Aboriginal people were granted a special-purpose lease in perpetuity over the crown land at One Mile Dam in 1978, after an eight-year battle.

One Mile Dam is home to about 10 permanent Indigenous residents and a temporary home to dozens of homeless people and visitors from other areas.

'They don't want to tell us the truth'

As Darwin's CBD has developed, high-rise apartment blocks have encroached on the community and raised fears among residents about the camp's future.

The former Country Liberals government was open about its plan to acquire the One Mile Dam land in order to redevelop the community.

Under the current Labor Government more apartment blocks and a new arterial road have been developed around the grassy little community surrounding a natural spring.

Mindy Timber fears the NT Government still wants to redevelop the land.

"They don't want to tell us the truth," she said.

"They just tell us the same thing; that they are going to knock the houses down."

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A redevelopment plan is an urban plan designed for the purposes of facilitating development in specific geographic areas. In practice, Redevelopment Plans are used to guide how an existing built-up area or neighborhood should develop in the future.

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Her suspicions have been further raised because the NT Government's Central Darwin Area Plan, released earlier this year, has earmarked a third of the One Mile Dam land as a "potential area for change" into "public open space" or "residential development".

"I feel angry," Rosemary Timber said.

"Who wouldn't be angry when you're being surrounded by new buildings and roads, when you're sitting like a little island, not knowing what's going to happen next?

"It may be a small little community, but it can be trouble, especially when it's worth millions of dollars to them."

The NT Planning Department said the Central Darwin Area Plan did not mandate the changes proposed for One Mile Dam.

"The Central Darwin Area Plan suggests that at some point in the future a landowner may consider changing the use of their site," the department said.

"However, the plan does not mandate any specific vision for the site."

Responsibility for demolition plan unclear

Asked by the ABC where the advice about the pending demolition came from, Ms Caton did not answer directly, but said "the Housing Department has been working closely with Yilli to ensure that where possible dangerous derelict buildings are removed".

The NT Planning Department said "the derelict shelters at One Mile Dam were unsafe and a potential risk to visitors' health".

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But both the Territory Housing and Planning departments have told the ABC the Government did not order the demolition of houses.

That is even though Mindy Timber said a Territory Housing officer visited her last week to tell her the structures were unsafe and would have to go.

The Territory Housing Department added that any decisions about the infrastructure and land's future use rested with the land's lease holder, the Aboriginal Development Foundation (ADF).

Control of community uncertain

One of the ADF's former committee members, Philip Goodman, said the organisation has been under pressure from the NT Government to give up the lease for One Mile Dam, and other town camps, to another Indigenous organisation.

"The NT Government is putting pressure on us really, telling us that we have to surrender these leases over to an incorporated body, such as Yilli and Larrakia Nation," Mr Goodman said.

Yilli Housing said it had been in negotiations to take over some of the town camp leases, but Larrakia Nation, which represents Darwin traditional owners, objected.

Larrakia Nation told the ABC it would not comment on its negotiations over the leases at the moment.

Mr Goodman said he would be happy for another organisation to take over the leases, but only if the town camp's current long-term residents get legally binding guarantees they could stay.

"If we sign the lease over to them they have to look after us," he said.

"We have to have [something] like a clause where they can't kick us out.

"I'm just asking for support for old Mindy and the town camps so we can have a better life like everybody else, instead of getting treated differently."

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