Katherine Times Wed 24 Jan 2018
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Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Katherine; Katherine (N.T.) -- Newspapers
North Australian News for Katherine Times
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North Australian News for Katherine Times
katherinetimes.com.au/opinion ]OPINION Wednesday January 24, 2018KATHERINETIMES10 katherinetimes.com.au PHONE Call us: (08) 8972 1111 EMAIL Send your letter to: editor.kathtimes@ fairfaxmedia.com.au SOCIAL facebook.com/ katherinetimes, twitter. com/katherinetimes CONNECT WITH US Preference is given to letters that are fewer than 350 words. Letters must include the authors first and last name (for publication), address and daytime contact number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space and clarity. Letters are placed at the editors discretion. POST PO Box 42 Katherine, NT 0851 WE ARE only a few days awayfrom the 20th anniversary ofthe biggest natural disaster toever befall Katherine. Similar floods would no doubt have occurred regularly through history but there wasnt 10,000 people living here then. Amilestone like 20 years is a good time to remember what happened, how it happened and what we have done tomake sure it doesnt happen again. Many local people believe Katherine has still not recovered from the 1998 flood. Many people left, either forcibly or voluntarily, and never returned. On the 10th anniversary of the flood, CDU researchers crunched some numbers. Before the flood, Katherine was the third largest urban centre in the NTwith a population around 10,000. Back then Palmerston was rolled into Darwin from a statistical point of view but now Katherine sits at fourth biggest behind Darwin, Palmerston and Alice Springs. Major changes in the size and composition of the Katherine population occurred between the 1996 and 2001 Census, and can be attributed to the impacts of flooding caused by Cyclone Les in January 1998, the CDU research found. Following strong population growth in the 1970s and 1980s, the population declined by 15 per cent in1996 and 2001 and has not recovered substantially since. Population change included a large decline in people aged 15-44 years, an ageing of the population, and an increase in the proportion of the population who identify as Indigenous. At the time of the flood, Katherine was estimated to have a population of between 9000-10,000 people. Katherine experienced substantial and sustained population growth right through the 1970s and 1980s, the research found. The town nearly doubled in size in the late 1980s with the establishment of a long term Air Force base at Tindal on the southeast outskirts of the town. At the 1971 Census there were 2500 people counted in Katherine. By the 1986 Census there were 5500 people, and by 1996 there were over 7500 people counted and an estimated resident population (including those missed by the Census) approaching or exceeding 9000 people. By the 2001 Census, the population was closer to 7000. Most recent census information suggests the population is beyond 11,000 again. EDITORIAL Flood dampens a boom time for Katherine TODAYS FLOODS MAY BE WORSE Two decades have passed since the '98 flood and Katherine is no better prepared for a flood now than it was then. In fact with neem trees choking the riverbank and damming the Katherine River, if we have the same volume of water flowing in the river the level at the High Level Bridge may actually be higher than in 1998. Much was said at the time about flood mitigation for the future. Very little however has ever been done to resolve the issue. Money was supposedly allocated to relocate the hospital to higher ground but as we all know, the hospital is still where it was in '98. Talk of revenue from the sale of TIO being used tomove the hospital appears to have been simply that, talk. A river-cam installed on the bridge by the Dept of Infrastructure is not a solution for a flood. Many residents have raised the issue of a dam being constructed upstream from the Katherine Gorge. While there is certainly a lot of merit to this idea, the fact that the damwould be on Aboriginal land appears to be a sticky point to this solution. In addition to floodmitigation a damn would provide recreation facilities and regulate the flow of water through the gorge, thus being of benefit for tourism in the later months of the dry season. Power generation would no doubt be considered and of course the water would be a boon for the agricultural industry. Levee banks have been spoken about but seemingly dismissed. To keep flood water out of Katherine would not require several metre high levee bank such as in NewOrleans and elsewhere in the world. A relatively low levee bank from the high ground at the rocks area, around the hospital and along the riverbank to a point south of Katherine could be economically built.This would certainly alleviate much of the problem. The downside of levee banks of course would bemore water flowing on the northern side of the river. The land there however is flat so the the water would spread out further and hence would lack depth. The development of Katherine has been held back in the past by what has been referred to as the Berrimah Line syndrome. The linemay havemoved south a few kilometres in recent years but Katherine is still well below it. Bruce Francais, Katherine GAS SUPERBASIN PLAN The Isa Superbasin in Queensland is to be assessed as a potential area for the safe extraction of gas as the Federal Government seeks to ensure that Australia can access our plentiful resources in a responsible way. Extending approximately 56,000 square kilometres along the northern part of the Queensland-Northern Territory border, the Isa Superbasin was selected for its world class petroleum source rocks, demonstrated shale gas flows and its proximity to pipeline infrastructure all of whichmake it an excellent candidate to deliver new gas supplies to the East Coast GasMarket in the next five to 10 years. As we work with states, territories and industry to get more gas tomarket, this initiative aims to not only boost supply to the eastern states, but also support strong regulation of unconventional gas projects. It is yet another step the Turnbull Government is taking to deliver affordable and reliable energy for Australian households and businesses as we transition to a lower emissions future. The independent scientific studies will assess the geology, water quantity and quality of surface and groundwater. Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy andMatthew Canavan,Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Canberra. FLOOD DEFENCE: Levee banks are still being considered to help protect Katherine from future floods. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR KATHERINETimes released its special 20 year flood edition this week. Oh the smell of mud, sewage and rotting food. Sooo bad. Alice Nolan I still have a copy of the paper from 98. I moved in nov 97 and was meant to come back in the February but all my stuff in storage got washed away. Jaye Carah I can't believe it's been 20 years this Australia Day. Jeremy James Czoloszynski I was there helping to clean up the town as part of the RAAF contingent, I have very vivid memories of the event and I will never forget the smell of rotting chickens as we cleaned our Redgum Caravan Parks meat locker,Woolworths perishables, and the Stars refrigerator. Robert Smith Something my wife and i would not want to go through again, lived on the river bank down stream from the dump and the sewage ponds. Jeff Ferguson Katherines Subway closure caused quite a stir on social media last week.The store will reopen soon under new management. On no.What am I going to feed my son after footy training. Angela Power If you cant support a Subway, how are you going to support a KFC? Michael Dalton. Joseph Conroy It's another store to close up in k-town. Courtney Paine Sad isnt it! If we dont support Katherine businesses we will lose them all! Buy local! Donna Schubert Sad Nick Bomm Ive put on 3kgs eating at Maccas now. Jarred Hughes Nathan GrovesYou can rest easy, carb boy. Dave Hansman Better buy in Darwin Myrt Stanley. Ben Coleman More trips to Darwin Myrt Stanley There will be celebrations in the street! Ill email the mayor, we need a parade! Marty Mc Fly WEB WORDS