South Australian Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs visited Kangaroo Island last week to get up to speed on a number of issues.
The minister visited the site of the proposed “The Cliffs” golf resort at Pennington Bay to see the location himself and had “an extensive walk around.”
He said as minister, he was legally the owner of the Crown land that made up the cliff-top strip and that he hoped to be able to work through the issues raised during the public consultation when more 780 submissions were received.
Mr Speirs said he hoped to land at a decision on the proposal to sell the Crown land to the developers with his colleagues in cabinet in the coming weeks.
One issue raised with the minister during his visit was the proposed deep-water wharf development at Smith Bay being proposed by Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers.
Mr Speirs said he had the issue raised with him by management of the adjacent Yumbah Aquaculture abalone farm and former State Member Michael Pengilly, while representatives from Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbour Dolphin Watch also raised concerns.
He said given the proposal had major project status, ultimately the approval decision lay with SA planning minister Stephan Knoll, who was due to visit Kangaroo Island in a few weeks.
But he said would playing a role in regards to environmental issues once KIPT produced its environment impact statement.
Mr Speirs also confirmed the new state government was moving ahead with plans to replace the Natural Resource Management Act with the Landscape South Australia Act.
The would mean dissolving and replacing NRM boards with nine Landscape boards, including one on Kangaroo Island.
But this would entail a period of consultation over the winter months with the general public, board members and NRM staff, after which new legislation would be drafted and brought before State Parliament in early 2019.
Mr Speirs said he would return to Kangaroo Island during the consultation phase.
On his visit last week, he also visited the site of the proposed cat-proof fence for the cat eradication program on the Dudley Peninsula, which he said was a “very exciting and very practical project”.
He also visited Seal Bay Conservation Park, Flinders Chase National Park and walked a section of the KI Wilderness Trail at the Banksia campground.
Mr Speirs said Kangaroo Island was a great example of nature based tourism and the new government was keen to work on the successes of the previous government and grow nature based tourism on KI even more.
Mr Spiers also attended a dinner at the Ozone Hotel in Kingscote on Thursday night hosted by presiding member KI NRM board Richard Trethewey, mayor Peter Clements and KI Commisioner Wendy Campana.