The Town Council has taken the first step towards getting stakeholders in the Todd and Charles Rivers around the table to consider the rivers' management issues. It recently appeared reluctant to respond to a call by Arid Lands Environment Centre coordinator Jimmy Cocking to take "leadership" in the management of the rivers. CEO Rex Mooney and Mayor Damien Ryan have since revisited the minutes of the Environment Advisory Committee, where Mr Cocking put his motion, and it was clear that the committee wanted council to consider a meeting of stakeholders, says Mr Mooney. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: The normally dry bed of the Todd River cuts a green swathe through through the middle of Alice Springs, as seen clearly from the top the range at Heavitree Gap.
We sounded a false note of optimism last week when the Alice Springs News Online reported that the Town Council had got the message about tree protection in the Todd and Charles Rivers. Work by trusties from the gaol, observed by readers knocking down buffel grass in the Todd, was no more than usual, occurring "most Thursdays" according to council's Director of Technical Services, Greg Buxton.
We would be wrong to think that the elected members are particularly stirred by the evidence of destruction of trees in the Todd and the persistence of the conditions that threaten them. With the exception of a brief comment by Alderman Jane Clark, no-one spoke of the trees at council's meeting last night. That there was discussion at all about the state of river came down to concern about flooding. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Trees ablaze in the Todd, opposite the Crowne Plaza hotel, on November 8, 2011. Alice News reader Dy Kelaart took this shot, commenting: "Fire crews were in attendace as bystanders with the many obsevers watching in disbelief as fire engulfed the beautiful old river gums. An amazing spectical, shame about the majestic trees!" Senior Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says fire crews would definitely have tried to put out the fires as "this is our job". The Alice News visited the site yesterday. Many of the trees in the mid-channel island have survived, although one (at right) has been utterly destroyed. Meanwhile, the buffel grass all around is greening up. If unchecked, by spraying or slashing, when it dries out it will again create the tinderbox conditions that fed this fire.