“He said he met with AAPA last week and they …

Comment on No shift in council’s priorities in the river by Hal Duell.

“He said he met with AAPA last week and they are having discussions with traditional owners.” I was in the public gallery during last Monday’s council meeting and heard Director of Technical Services, Greg Buxton, make this statement.
One question: When he said they are having discussions, did he mean the Town Council and AAPA are having discussions with the traditional owners of the different stretches of the Todd River, or did he mean that AAPA is having the discussions and relaying back to Council any decisions?
I would like to think our Town Council is a participant in any discussions with traditional owners when the discussions relate to a matter of public safety for all the residents of Alice Springs. Given the concern that the Todd River is now so shallow that a Q20 flood could break the river’s banks, I suggest these discussions would fall within the rubric of public safety.
Just asking.

Hal Duell Also Commented

No shift in council’s priorities in the river
I can’t agree that the Town Council is quite as slack and irresponsible as some would seem to suggest. While I often disagree with Council’s actions, in the case of the Todd River, I wonder what else they can do, in addition to what they are already doing, without more funds and clearer authority.
An increase in rates is never welcome, but without spending more money, how can the grasses be kept from becoming a fuel load? How can the remains of the trees burned by arsonists be removed before they add to next year’s fuel load? And how can the river’s floor be deepened, or its channels improved, so Alice is protected from a Q20 flood breaking the banks?
No one, and on my own I include the Council, wants to see the large river gums go. I suggest the inclination to protect the river is there but is being stymied by other bureaucracies. Why else is Council only allowed to enter the river with handheld tools? Rakes and a whipper snipper or two to look after the broad expanse of the Todd that Council has been given responsibility for by the NT Government? It’s almost as if someone is deliberately putting rocks in Council’s road.
The massacre of mature trees in the riverbed is down to arson, and as Mr Buxton correctly pointed out, that is not Council’s problem. The clean-up is, or could be if allowed, but the act itself is a crime and belongs to the NT Police.
Expertise can be hired. A River Warden has been suggested, but if we go down that path, I would like to see Council remain the designated authority. We have tried splitting authority in Alice before when Tangentyere Council was given authority over the Town Camps, and that just didn’t work. Splitting the Todd won’t either.
I think much of the current problem is that as a town we have turned our back on the Todd. Other than the bicycle path, the Sturt Tce. parklands and the veranda at Juicy Rump, where else is the river the focus? Even in the more than 170 activities listed in the recently released and truly admirable Youth Activities Calendar 2011/12 – summer holidays, not one activity is scheduled to take place in the Todd. Not one.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Make September 8 Australia Day, anthem in Pitjantjatjara
Has anyone asked the descendants of Matthew Flinders what they think of the proposal to bring his remains to Australia? I hope so, as surely common courtesy would make that a first step.
Just asking …


Adelaide’s Indigenous gallery out of the starting blocks
This is a good move from the perspective of a National Indigenous Art Gallery.
An excellent location in a capital city with ready access for national and international visitors. There’s lots to see and do in Adelaide. I predict it will be a huge success.
In contrast, let’s look at Alice. We may love it – I certainly do having lived here for forty years with no plans of leaving.
But aside from access to some unique country, what do we offer our visitors? Here’s a clue: Go into town on any day and watch the loud and aggressive drunks stumbling about making fools of themselves.
Or how about spending an hour or two in the Coles car park any night you choose? Not exactly a good look!


Planning another plan
To further develop the CBD without first addressing flood mitigation would be leaving the cart before the horse and a blueprint for future heartbreak.


Make Oz Day a celebration of the future, not the past
Domenico: Please stop misquoting me. I do not and have not suggested Anzac Day be also known as Australia Day.
“If (IF!) we want a national day to celebrate our coming of age in the crucible of war, Anzac Day amply suffices.”
No one, myself included, has suggested we meld that day into Australia Day.
You are doing your argument no favours by resorting to underhanded and misleading rhetorical tricks.


Make Oz Day a celebration of the future, not the past
Domenico: Perhaps we need to think again on what constitutes an acceptable national day, or day of unity.
We already have a designated Federation Day, but does anyone really pay much attention to it? And falling as it does on the day after the global party of New Year’s Eve makes it hard to imagine it becoming anything more than what it already is.
If we want a national day to celebrate our coming of age in the crucible of war, Anzac Day amply suffices.
My suggestion of the last Monday in January was mostly to offer a minimal alternative to January 26, which will never be accepted by many.
Following comments to my letter, I am coming around to the idea of September 1, or Wattle Day.
It is politically neutral, it is the first day of Spring, it celebrates the green and gold, and it allows for the participation of schools and school children.
Not a bad combination when celebrating the present and looking to the future.


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