When the Todd floods, the water carries a quantity of …

Comment on LETTER: Removing sand from the Todd makes no sense as a flood mitigation measure by Hal Duell.

When the Todd floods, the water carries a quantity of sand. Is that fair?
Then, if the flow is slowed, some of the carried sand drops. Is that fair?
The causeways, but especially the Taffy Pick crossing, slow all floods. Is that fair?
Economic constraints dictate that we will never get rid of, or even rebuild, all the causeways. But we could lose the Taffy Pick crossing, not by replacing it with a bridge (economic constraints again, and possibly geographic ones as well), but by replacing it with a level crossing.
If we did that, in the next flood wouldn’t at least some of the recently deposited sand from either side of the crossing flow out through the Gap?
I question if this work would mean a rate hike. I thought the crossing was the responsibility of the NT government who, I have been told, insisted that the original builders of the casino put that crossing across the Todd. If this is true, who owns it now?
Surely the removal of up to one meter of sand from the junction of the Bradshaw and Bloomfield drainage systems with the Todd River increased the flow of flood water through the Gap. I don’t know if that counts as sand-mining or not, and I don’t see it making, or even hinting at, a “concrete drain”.
I too am all for “best practice” in the Todd, but what is best practice? If anyone thinks we can find one clear scientific opinion on this, I suggest they try to follow the global warming debate in which scientists of all stripes seemingly cannot find any common points of agreement.
This may change after Cyclone Sandy, but I doubt it.
While we look for that elusive best practice, and await funding and process for a flood-mitigation dam, how about we petition the NT government to level the Taffy Pick crossing. It would be a start.

Hal Duell Also Commented

LETTER: Removing sand from the Todd makes no sense as a flood mitigation measure
@Alex
Thanks for the explanation.
I will admit that I still think it was better to remove the built-up sand, couch and all, rather than wait for a flood to do it. Chinaman’s Creek drains most of Alice Springs west of the Stuart Highway, more or less, and I like the idea of any water coming down that system exiting thru The Gap as quickly as possible.
(Where does the run-off from the old Racecourse area go?)
I agree with your comments about a river’s ability to alter its own banks. I too have seen that happen, although a bit further downstream. I have been told this phenomenon is known as a “hungry river”, and not much can stop it once it gets its teeth in.
Perhaps that is another reason to remove any built-up sand before a flood – let any flood go through without getting its teeth in.
To minimise the chance of that happening between the Telegraph Station and The Gap, I hope the sand currently being removed be ASTC is only being taken from the middle channels, and not from the sides.
One more comment about the Taffy Pick crossing – in answer to a question at last night’s committee meetings, I learned that the crossing belongs to the NTG. This means that if it is to be knocked down to a level crossing, they are the ones to do it.


LETTER: Removing sand from the Todd makes no sense as a flood mitigation measure
@Charlie
Are you saying that it was either wrong or unnecessary to remove the built-up sand earlier this year from the junction of the Bradshaw and Bloomfield drainage systems and the Todd River. (Is that Chinaman’s Creek? I heard that somewhere, but now can’t find it anywhere.)
The Todd’s bed was about one meter higher than the bed of the drainage system, and was heavily anchored with couch grass too thick to walk through.
I don’t know if grasses like couch and buffel are why sand builds up, but I suspect they help hold it when it does.
Also, do you think that when flood water is checked, it drops some of its load? And if it does, does that impact on the flow of subsequent floods? This question leads into the Taffy Pick crossing, so don’t answer it if you don’t want to.


LETTER: Removing sand from the Todd makes no sense as a flood mitigation measure
Since my last post, I have been informed that the Taffy Pick Causeway was built with money from the NTG, the Commonwealth and a contribution from Hotels Australia, or whoever the home page of the first casino operators belonged to.
The responsibility for its maintenance was accepted by (dumped on?) a reluctant Alice Springs Town Council in the late 1980s.
But who owns it today? Before it can be replaced with a level crossing, or even a bridge if that kind of money is available, that question needs answering.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

The gallery drama: Will there be a happy ending?
There is something profoundly sad about taking the idea of a National Indigenous Art Gallery and using it to increase the sale of trashy, probably China-sourced tourist baubles (and short-blacks).
There is emerging an impression that this whole issue has degenerated into an exercise in political clickbait. Not real pretty at all!


Torrent of toxic Facebook posts after Mall melee
Mr Gunner would do well to remember that the last NT Chief Minister to lose control of the streets in Alice was Martin, and the Intervention followed. Turnbull might have a smoother smile, but he is cast in the same mold.
And Where’s Warren will again wring his hands and cry shame, but the only shame is that he is still there. Go Jacinta! I don’t know if you will be any more effective, but remember this: You cannot do worse.
Also, consider this: There has recently been a national Angst over all the kids in detention in the NT being Indigenous, but then think how many priors each of those kids had to have had before they finally earned detention.
CM Gunner’s answer to the collapse of Alice seems to be to ignore the clearly stated preference of the majority regarding the art gallery and to work with them, but to instead indulge in a swinging big-dick moment. He wants to get real while there is still an Alice to get real over.
And the TOs and their families and friends? To be honest, I think they are scared of their own children. Or perhaps they are scared of each other.
Either way, they sure as hell aren’t doing anything.


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So glad the Ducks of Doom feature. As soon as I get back to Alice I will visit.


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It will be interesting to see if the results of Council’s survey are similar to those published today by our local print newspaper.
Over a two week period it conducted an online poll asking residents of Alice what they thought of plans to use Anzac Oval for an art gallery. The results are unambiguous: From a total of 988 votes, 32.4% said it was a good idea and 67.6% said it wasn’t.
As for the old high school, over to you, Alex Nelson.


Aboriginal-led ‘from the bottom up’: cultural centre
A National Indigenous Cultural Centre is arguably so much more important, nationally, locally, and indigenously(?), than another art gallery. I imagine it would include an important and pertinent section on the birth and development of the Central Australian art movement. This last point alone would obviate the need for a National Indigenous Art Gallery, especially given that all major cities and most of the smaller ones already have their own collection of Indigenous art.
As an aside, do we really imagine that the cities, both large and small, will strip out their own collections to further a gallery in Alice Springs? Will the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory be sending its rare and priceless collection south to Alice? Of course they won’t.
And for a National Indigenous Cultural Centre to be led and directed by local Indigenous voices, in consultation with other Indigenous voices from around Australia, is only right. Their culture, their land, their choice. Hopefully Gunner and Co will, this time, listen and learn.


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