Project Update: December 2017
We prepared this update in response to some questions from a newspaper in Alice. We're sharing it here for supporters of the project.
Great progress has been made this year with both The Cross project and the Creative Technologies Centre in the Ikuntji Community.
The Cross is now well established as a unique project that combines faith, culture and social enterprise based employment.
The Cross will be owned and operated by Memory Mountain Limited (MML) a not-for-profit that has been established with the majority of members and directors coming from the local community.
Local people are excited to see their vision for The Cross nearing completion. MML is working with all stakeholders to make appropriate plans for visitors that respect all aspects of that original vision. A vision to share faith, welcome tourists and create sustainable economic benefit.
Construction work on The Cross is now nearing completion, with the track to the summit of Memory Mountain now complete. Every step of the project is taken with consultation with representative groups, which requires a worthwhile investment of time and which has added credibility to the project through development of sustained and strong relationships.
Local firm Ross Engineering is building the cross and has completed the track work. The cross will be constructed from Australian steel and taken in sections to the site.
Creative Technologies Centre in Haasts Bluff Community
The terms of the lease for the Creative Technologies Centre located in the Ikuntji community itself have now been agreed with Commonwealth agencies in Canberra and Alice Springs.
The centre will occupy an otherwise disused government managers building and will be funded by donations and sponsorship received by Walk A While Foundation (WAW).
Traditional Owners expressed support for the Creative Technologies Centre given a strong educational focus, which will equip community members to share their creative gifting in photography, film and music in the digital economy. This was discussed at a Community Consultation held by Central Lands Council in Ikuntji who we continue to meet with as the project progresses.
Corporate donors to WAW including leading NBN service provider Harbour-Sat are standing by now to equip the centre as are suppliers of cameras and computers and audio technologies.
Plans For 2018
In regard to The Cross our market research confirms interest amongst travellers currently reaching Glen Helen in the opportunity to visit the Cross and potentially arts centres in Ikuntji and Papunya which have recently received additional funding grants.
MML is keen to work with NT Tourism and other agencies as exciting plans for Arts Trails and development of nearby destinations such as Tilmouth Well are progressed. This is exciting for Alice Springs as it will provide new opportunities for visitors.
Whilst Ken Duncan remains as Chairman of WAW, a wider team of operational leaders are now visiting Alice Springs and the community on a regular basis. On average we have had members of our volunteer team in the community or Alice Springs every four to six weeks this year.
The focus for 2018 is to work with all stakeholders as we plan and implement both the completion of The Cross and the opening of the Creative Technologies Centre. Our wider team of volunteers will undertake this work.
Further funding is now needed to invest in social enterprise opportunities that may arise from The Cross and to enable the Creative Technologies Centre to fulfil its potential and staff its operations.
New web sites will be launched in 2018 for both Walk A While and Memory Mountain reflecting the focus of both companies and further communication will be released on our leadership team and plans as both projects move into their final phases of implementation.