Katherine Town Council has a very close relationship with DIPL’s regional director of infrastructure for the Katherine region Phil Harris.
For the many who have never been to a council meeting, Mr Harris sits at the back of the council chamber pecking away on a computer tablet while listening to the discussion.
Mayor Fay Miller often remarks about Mr Harris’ presence and says Katherine is the winner from their close ties.
Last night Mr Harris gave a presentation to only a handful of people before the council meeting on plans to protect Katherine from future floods.
It has been a long time since 1998, but the authorities are finally distilling all their research and investigations together into a single plan.
How best to protect Katherine from future floods.
The graphics in the live presentation were very good and can be seen on Katherine Times’ website in our videos for those interested from where we livestream from council.
The experts found Tindal Creek plays a much bigger part than most would have thought in the inundation of the town.
Most thought the Katherine River broke its banks, at numerous points, and that was it.
Not so, according to all the research, the Tindal Creek is responsible for a lot more than just PFAS contamination.
A line of levee banks has been suggested to the Katherine community for discussion.
There is no hope holding back a 1 in 200 year event like 1998 which devastated the town, Mr Harris said.
The experts are intent on saving what they can on a smaller flood, like 2006.
Mr Harris did cause plenty of raised eyebrows when he said repeatedly that the hospital was to be sacrificed to the flood as part of this new plan.
It was a word he used several times, a bit hard to chew on when hospitals traditionally house a community’s most vulnerable people during emergencies like floods.
But DIPL has told us later the hospital would be well and truly evacuated before any water arrived.
Mr Harris said there are plans to move the hospital but even the bravest person in Katherine isn’t prepared to say when that is likely to happen.
Maybe never, according to some.
Mr Harris said it was thought better to protect about 300 homes with the money they have left in the flood kitty for levees.
That money (more than $20m), gifted for the protection of Katherine from the sale of the TIO, has been whittled down over time.
Our question is whether everyone in town is on board with the plan to sacrifice the hospital for hundreds of private dwellings?
And who was it that made that decision?
If we’ve already waited this long, perhaps we can wait a bit more to get it right.