Hal, your assertion that a large red gum adjacent to …

Comment on The risks in taming the river by Mike Gillam.

Hal, your assertion that a large red gum adjacent to the Chifley was recently destroyed by fire is puzzling. That section of the riverbank has performed much better than almost any other despite the Town Council’s lack of active management. As a precaution some dry material could be knocked down but most of the work has already been done by concerned residents. I took quite a few photographs here and the understorey ‘fuel’ as shown in the bottom image does not compare to the volatility of buffel and couch. But you already know that. In fact much of the nearby buffel is now regenerating after burning during the spring fires.
Over past weeks your wild theories and endless distractions have been challenged in one form or another eg. the observations by Sunil Dhanji about mowing in the current story actually addresses part of your very first question!
And if you are still curious do some research and examine the photographic records for the Todd and look at the declining numbers of red gums and the low levels of germination north of Wills Tce. Consider the trees that were recently left to burn for days, rising salinity (get a pH kit and start testing) and even sand-mining. Then think about the impact of the sand-mine adjacent to the prominent Schwarz Crescent causeway where the river ‘trustee’ (Town Council) is carting away fill, presumably to provide daily cover at the landfill.
On the subject of weeds and fire management, in fact almost anything to do with the Town Council’s responsibilities in the Todd River you seem to have developed a blind spot. So I’d ask any new readers to this website to read back through the previous stories and readers comments’– ‘Spot a tree chop it down’; ‘Only fire-fighters decide on how to deal with individual fires’; ‘Are fire vandals the only ones to blame for the state of the river’ – and decide for themselves if Hal Duell is looking for answers or just blame shifting to excuse the lackluster management of our river corridors.
Note: While I currently serve on the AAPA Board (sacred sites authority) these comments are my personal views and reflect a long-standing interest in land management issues affecting the Todd River and crown land generally.

Mike Gillam Also Commented

The risks in taming the river
I should add to my previous post because these online debates tend to focus on points of difference and sometimes that confuses the bigger picture.
• The Todd River is a priceless feature that enriches the lives of residents and tourists alike. City councils around the country are pulling car bodies out of billabongs and trying to re-store the landscape basics that we are failing to manage.
• Working with the country and managing the river to the best of our ability makes good ecological and economical sense. Endemic trees are under-utilized and some species offer vastly superior options for creating shade and improving the ambience of river parklands.
• We need to learn from our mistakes. Destroying the river corridor by trying to re-create a ‘parkland’ aesthetic from another hemisphere or climatic zone is senseless and doomed to failure.
• The river can accommodate a hierarchical mix of land-care approaches including:
– the ‘wild river’ where we strive to optimize biodiversity by minimizing harmful impacts and controlling weeds. The rich under-storey does not need fastidious mowing.
– manicured / mowed lawns with native trees that provide abundant shade and enhance recreational opportunities for people but do not threaten the ecological balance of the river.
• Appropriate forms of recreation need to be planned and managed in ways that do not trash the river because that would be stupid, costly and unsustainable in the longer term.


Recent Comments by Mike Gillam

Melanka building would obscure unequalled backdrop
While I broadly support the views of the writer, I’d like to correct what is clearly a typo.
The building height limit in the CBD is 14 m. not 8.5m, and for the record, I won’t be making a submission to the NT Planning Commission, a Statutory Authority advising the NT Government on planning matters including building heights in Alice Springs because I don’t regard the public consultation process as genuine.
Recent calls by the Chief Minister for expressions of interest in the development of land at Whittaker Street, just outside the western boundary of the CBD and in an area with a LOWER height limit, makes a mockery of this public consultation.
The artist’s impression shows a building that dramatically exceeds the stated limit for this area, from memory, not even 14 m but currently 8.5m.
Of course, the nature of legislation, regulations and town plans may be subject to the extraordinary powers granted to the responsible Minister who can always find some justification.
In closing I would give credit to the NT Planning Commission for its recognition of the value of protecting some critical east west sight-lines across the CBD.
However the town’s future shape and collective massing of buildings will be determined to a large extent by the uncoordinated actions of individual developers and politicians in the decades ahead.
Ultimately this is a game of chance and DESIGN, that elusive collective vision for Alice Springs, appears to be taking a back seat in the process. As a struggling tourist town we can and should do much better.


Festival broadens ambitions of Alice Cinema
At a time when the town’s commercial centre is under great stress we are very fortunate to have such dynamic and progressive people directing the cinema complex.


A funny thing happened to me on the way to the tip …
Delightfully zany, elegant, rigorously conceived and resolved, an asset to the landfill and the town. Congratulations to the artist for her uncompromising effort and those on the Town Council who placed their faith in her and dared to make this happen. I hope the obvious quality of this public art has raised the confidence of decision makers and they feel vindicated to do it again with equal rigour. Perhaps in time, as the town’s artistic side is further highlighted and revealed we may regain some of our reputation as a tourist mecca.


Dancers take over after dark
Not denying there is an equivalent need for the hard core stories but surely this is the Alice Springs News at its very best.I’m kicking myself for missing the event.


Residency is at risk, says heritage group
Hal, where to start…If you peddle misinformation some readers might hyperventilate. But I think you’re ignoring the elephant in the room here…no-one likes their time being wasted and that’s how I feel trying to unravel your torrent of opinion and innuendo. Time prevents me from responding to more of your posts. It’s not simply that you distort reality by describing The Residency as “…current inactive state…” or that it’s preposterous and insulting to say, “Have you considered that Heritage Alice Springs’ dogmatic approach to these matters contributed to the Old Riverside not being given Heritage listing?” What an outrageous example of shoot the messenger by some-one who has not seen the nomination by HAS. But wait there’s more, “…I often think the heritage crowd exceed their brief…” Really? They’re the main reason you can cite the example of the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame at its fantastic heritage location. And again, “…We don’t have very many buildings worth listing. Too many tin sheds, and who really cares…” Your regard for vernacular architecture including sheds is out of step with rising national interest and ignores much of the development history of Alice Springs.
PS Re. leasing the Residency for use as a cafe, I reiterate the issue of onsite car-parking. From memory, 6 parks are required for every 100m2 of net floor area and any alfresco dining areas – so I’m guessing this site would have to at least double the existing parks – this reasonable condition may be waived by the Minister BUT it’s in the best commercial interests of cafe owners to provide viable parking to lessen the impact on the street during periods of peak trade. And no, the idea that a new venture would be allowed to free-load on existing public car-parking is unlikely to win much support. The RFDS has it all, why try to replicate that experience with less at the Residency?


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