This stalemate over Springvale has to end

OPINION – It does no-one any good to put Springvale into the too hard basket because it is privately owned.

After four years of shoulder shrugging and stalemate, Katherine and the NT is the big loser.

It is the cold, clammy hands of the public bureaucracy which has reached across Springvale’s fence to shut it down.

So it is as much a public problem, as a private one.

And it’s not just Katherine’s problem.

Springvale is home to two NT “uniques”.

The oldest pastoral homestead and its biggest trees.

All this talk of turbo-charging tourism must also consider those attractions which have been placed in the too hard basket for too long.

We do not doubt the integrity and application of law by the Department of Health.

Sewerage from a 1998-style flood should not be allowed to escape into the river, that’s a given.

But all we see is rigid application of those laws, when it is compromise which is obviously the way forward here.

We do not doubt Springvale’s owner’s sincerity either.

Werner Sarny was once called the King of Tourism in Katherine, his legacy, his role in opening up river traffic in the gorge is stuff of legend.

The Jawoyn Association would not have asked Werner to speak at its recent 40th anniversary celebrations of their successful claim for Nitmiluk if they did not hold him in great respect.

So what is the compromise?

Is there no way to allow for a partial re-opening?

Perhaps fencing off the park beyond the giant trees so the homestead and trees are accessible?

How about a helping hand with lopping the dangerous limbs off the trees to make them safe, as had been directed, that would show a willingness to help?

More than anything Springvale needs someone to care.

Someone in government needs to care and Tourism Minister Moss we believe that person should be you.

If you really believe in turbo-charging then Springvale needs your intervention.

Springvale needs someone from government willing to work alongside Mr Sarny and give the public, visitors and local, a treasure they have for too long been refused access.

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