From the heavy rains of January 2000 onwards I’ve documented …

Comment on Boardwalk now a permanent blight on the landscape by Alex Nelson.

From the heavy rains of January 2000 onwards I’ve documented this side of Meyers’ Hill with photographs and have frequently walked and cycled on the track that wound its way around the base of the hill on the Todd riverbank. I’ve come to know this vicinity intimately.
I worked at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden a decade ago when the initial project began to construct a cycle pathway around Meyers’ Hill (a part of the “Alice in 10” scheme begun by the previous CLP administration), that was halted after damage was done during the process of dismantling the boundary fence of the garden. However, whatever damage occurred on that occasion must surely pale into insignificance compared to the abomination that’s being imposed on that site now. It’s astonishingly over the top, as if inspired by the infamous Sydney monorail of the 1980s.
Surely the structure being built there now wasn’t envisaged in the original Alice in 10 project.
In my opinion there’s no reason why a far more low-key pathway sympathetic to that site could not have been constructed, something akin to the Wills Terrace footbridge that has stood the test of time (and every flow of the Todd River) since 1957.
This is disgraceful, and an indictment against everybody involved in this monstrosity. It clearly shows those involved have no idea of what they are doing. It’s so sad – this is the vicinity where Olive Pink used to sit in the 1930s writing up her anthropology notes and gained the inspiration for establishing a native flora reserve on the land adjacent to the south side of the hill.
I can only hope that in due course this structure will meet the same fate as the Sydney monorail and be torn down; but of course we the taxpayer will as usual be paying for it.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Boardwalk now a permanent blight on the landscape
@ David Woods (Posted August 17, 2016 at 11:25 am): I’m delighted at the irony of your comment, David – hands up all those who remember the pedestrian crossing that was constructed on the south side of Heavitree Gap late in 2013 and dismantled early the following year at considerable cost to the taxpayer? There seems to be something about bureaucrats devising capital works projects for the benefit of pedestrians in Alice Springs.
Mention of which reminds me of an attempt in the early 1970s to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Heavitree Gap by the construction of a concrete path on the bed of the Todd River. I kid you not. No prizes for guessing what happened with the first flow of the river after that project was completed.
A question posed by Mark Wilson in the story linked above asked: “Can there be no end to obvious stupidity?” It appears this latest disaster along the base of Meyers Hill demonstrates the obvious answer is no.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Gunner goofs: No council ‘decisions’ on gallery site
@ Some Guy (Posted August 19, 2019 at 10:43 am): No, I don’t “feel like this golden opportunity of a project to secure the future of Central Australia both in an economic and cultural sense on the world stage is slowly slipping through the fingers” because it was an illusion in the first place.
This isn’t the first occasion that a big project has been held out for us in The Centre offering some kind of economic Nirvana; we were told exactly the same kind of thing with the casino 40 years ago, and again with the development of the Alice Springs Desert Park in the mid 1990s.
Both of these facilities may be attractions but have never come close to fulfilling the visions originally held out to us as major game changers for the Centre’s economy.
With all due respect, I cannot see how a “National Aboriginal Art Gallery” will prove to be any different in the long run.


Another great river tree goes up in flames
@ Bob Taylor (Posted August 14, 2019 at 8:38 am): In this case grass wasn’t the problem, Bob, as even hard up against the trunk of the tree I noticed that none of it was burnt.
What seems to have happened was that a campfire was lit under one of the old exposed support roots of the tree and it was from this source that the flames spread into the trunk.
The roots in turn have been exposed by erosion exacerbated by the lowering of the river bed over a decade ago for flood mitigation.
The lowering of the river bed has also enabled campers to conceal themselves better from view. Unless the river bed is physically patrolled, no-one else knows they are there.


Invasive buffel grass soon part of international focus
The caption for the photo: “Dense infestation buffalo grass in land near the Alice Springs airport” brings back some memories. During my years at school in the 1970s, invariably when I spoke about buffel grass everyone thought I meant buffalo grass, a common variety of garden lawn. [ED– the autocorrect of ‘buffalo’ for ‘buffel’ has now been corrected, thanks Alex.]
As my home was at AZRI and then the new CSIRO field station next door, I was completely familiar with buffel grass during the time when its systematic introduction for dust control (especially for the Alice Springs Airport) and improved pasture was fully underway.
However, this was still the time when buffel grass was not yet dominant in the landscape so most people were unfamiliar with it.


Nuke power way to zero emissions, or a solar shortcut?
@ Ted Egan (Posted August 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm): Hello Ted, if you go to this link https://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2013/07/11/when-gas-turns-to-hot-air/ and check out the CLP’s full page election advertisement from 1980, it’s just possible to make out that one of the energy options the NT Government was touting was “an experimental wind power generator for the Barkly Tablelands”.
The CLP was also giving consideration for nuclear power at that time, too.
Ah yes, we’re right into recycling!


NT at the bottom of the barrel
Ironic, I suggest, that the gas INPEX is exporting from the Territory actually doesn’t come from here. I hasten to add my comment is just an observation of the current situation, not an argument one way or the other about potential gas reserves in the NT.


Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor