LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Congratulations Alice Springs on reviving Story Wall last Friday night with the Slim Dusty movie.
Locals of all description enjoyed and relaxed on the Flynn Church lawns as the cooling breezes of the night air banished the heat of the day.
At times people spontaneously sang along with Slim’s songs.
Some entertained us with their latest dance moves silhouetted by the huge inflated screen that looked like a jumping castle at first glance.
And the cheap yummy tucker on sale was a tasty bonus!
Thanks #liveAlice, David Nixon and Flynn Church.
Now I have something else to look forward to on Friday nights in Alice Springs.
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Green: Native buffel. Red: Introduced buffel. Source: ScienceDirect.com
Sir – Buffel grass in Central Australia: “Savior To Some And Scourge To Many”, would be a fair summation. And the problem is, like it or not, the stuff is here to stay.
Controlling it is difficult to nigh-on impossible ‒ plus expensive. And as for restricting its spread, well, better you stand on the beach and try holding back the tide.
And yet! For Alice Springs there is light! Buffel, quietly and seemingly unnoticed, has set itself up as a major asset to the town (among several other, less-delightful things).
“Yeah … riiiiiight,” says you. “In your dreams.” But let me explain.
First up, who could forget the brouhaha surrounding Alice Springs’ proposed self-emptying flood mitigation dam, eh? And the Hawke / Keating Labor Government’s Right Honorable Minister For Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Robert Tickner, and the beat-up and the bulldozers etc.
After that, the notion of addressing Alice Springs’ potential flooding issue more or less faded away ‒ not just put on the back burner but swept under the carpet, so to speak. Many continued to worry about the issue, of course, and many were right to do so, because monster storms and downpours descendeth mightily from time to time, on the hills and valleys above us.
But quietly and without fanfare, unbidden, unplanned and pretty much unrecognised, I reckon ‒ correct me if I’m wrong (… again) ‒ Alice Springs now finds itself with the best of all possible flood mitigation solutions imaginable.
Five hundred cubic kilometres of catchment lie upstream of Heavitree Gap ‒ give or take a millimetre or two, with several hundred and forty multi-kazillion tussocks of buffel grass growing on every one of them there kilometres. And, whether dead or alive, each and every leaf and seed stalk and tussock will soak up, hold onto briefly, impede and/or otherwise interfere in some way with the general movement of water, as it migrates past.
And so let me pose you a question, by way of a thought experiment. Contemplate for a moment, if you will, the accumulated effect of all these tiny water-flow interferences and how they might effect the whole Charles Creek / Todd River catchment system’s behavioral dynamics in terms of overall discharge volumes and velocities.
Now compare that to the situation before the arrival of buffel grass (if you were around then) ‒ like when I was a kid, when the Alice Springs hills were bare and stormwater flowed headlong down their rocky slopes like water off a big iron roof.
And the beautiful thing about what has taken place here (should anything about buffel ever be considered beautiful) is that it all came about as a fait accompli. And we got it for free as well: no planning, no works and no installation expenditure ‒ in addition to which the whole turnout has zero maintenance requirements and is totally self sustaining.
Pity about the environmental consequences, of course. But … you know, we can’t have everything. I mean someone with a slightly better qualification than my conditional Grade Six School Exam Pass should write a paper sometime quantifying the whole business.
I’ll even suggest a title: “The Effects of Cenchrus ciliaris On Stormwater Runoff Volumes And Velocities Across The Diverse Landforms, Gradients And Waterway Types Of The Todd River/Charles Creek Catchment Area Upstream of Heavitree Gap” could be the brief version.
In the meantime, though, don’t expect to see a great deal of waist-deep floodwater in the Todd Mall any time soon.
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Sir – Let us all hope that Alice Springs Councillor, Jacinta Price (pictured), can quickly rise through the political ranks to the highest level.
She could be the circuit breaker this nation’s white and black communities’ need to completely nullify the vile attempts of the loony left to destroy any possible chance of a meaningful reconciliation.
She is intelligent, strong, and realistic. She identifies and fixes on the real priorities.
She is a gutsy woman, and I hope she receives the support and following she deserves so she can become a real force in the ongoing drive to achieve the healing needed between Australia’s First People and the rest of the nation.