I can’t agree that the Town Council is quite as …

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

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.

Hal Duell Also Commented

No shift in council’s priorities in the river
“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.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Kids in the justice system: The stark numbers
“But nobody seems to be able to work out why.”
Could it be because so many of the offenders are raised in overtly racist households where they are taught from when infants that all things Indigenous are superior to all things mainstream? For the child, the first casualty of this would be schooling and a respect for the possibilities that schooling offers.
And then when they get a bit older and come hard up against the unavoidable absurdity of what they have been taught, and realise that they are not only uneducated and ignorant but likely to remain uneducated and ignorant, anger and resentment give rise to a lashing out and a pathetic if understandable attempt to cry the victim?
“You owe me.” No, lad or lass, we don’t owe you, but your parents and early childhood mentors surely do.


Transport Hall fiasco may revive pressure groups
Last Saturday my wife and I went to a matinee showing at the Alice Cinema.
On exiting the cinema, our two hour free parking limit had expired so we went into Alice Plaza to pay the fare.
On coming out we were met with a ring of aggressive youths bristling with attitude whose gauntlet we were forced to run to gain access to our parked car.
Steve has it right. We are getting back to those days of Claire Martin levels of social dysfunction in Alice.
And from what I have seen, Darwin simply couldn’t care less.


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There was talk at one time that Nigel Scullion was getting tired of being a Senator, and that Jacinta was in line to take on that job. Something happen?
Anyway, now she says she wants to take on Snowdon in Lingiari? Good luck with that. Warren has done nothing for thirty years except win an election every three years. He’s good at it.
The $100,000 price tag for a by-election is an own goal. There are ways around it, if the Minister in charge of local government would care to consider them. Such as, offer the job to the last excluded candidate polling at least 3% of the primary vote at the previous election.


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Further to my first post, if the Alice Springs Town Council could combine with the MacDonnell Shire, Barkly Shire and the Central Desert Shire to present a united anti-fracking stand, their combined voices might carry a bit more weight.
I don’t know what the other shires stand on this issue is. Have they debated it? Anyone?


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Maybe I should start going to Council meetings again, if for no other reason than to enjoy the fireworks.
Reading the preceding comments, I am once again convinced that the whole Facebook phenomenon is a truly nasty piece of gear.
Why anyone would go there, would pay it the slightest bit of attention, is beyond me.


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