Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has lodged its Draft Environmental Impact Statement with the State Government for its proposed seaport at Smith Bay.
KIPT says the the Draft EIS was prepared by Adelaide-based environmental consultants Environmental Projects, supported by a large study team of engineers, scientists and technical experts, in response to guidelines issued by the SA Development Assessment Commission.
KIPT managing director John Sergeant said the Draft EIS and its associated studies demonstrated that the KI Seaport could be built and operated in a way that protected the environment and water quality, while providing significant social and economic advantages to South Australia, and to the Kangaroo Island community in particular.
Mr Sergeant said the KI Seaport was expected to unlock more than 250 full-time jobs, most of them on Kangaroo Island, and to inject more than $50 million a year into the South Australian economy.
The project had not changed in scope or scale since it was originally declared a Major Development in February 2017, although the design of the jetty structure has been modified to reduce the environmental impact of the proposed seaport, he said.
The Minister for Planning would advise when the Draft EIS is available for public consultation and whether any further information or changes are required before this happens, he said.
Mr Sergeant said until then, the Draft EIS was treated as commercial-in-confidence. KIPT hopes the public consultation period will be completed before Christmas 2018, but recognises that this is a matter for the Minister.
Formal submissions made during the public consultation will be considered and answered in a follow-up response document. The draft EIS and the response document would together form the final EIS to be lodged with State and Commonwealth governments for their decision, he said.
Mr Sergeant said the lodgement represented a critical milestone for KIPT.
“We have invested substantial time, effort and money to ensure that we are lodging a comprehensive Draft EIS,” he said.
“We believe that our proposal is submitted in a form that provides government with all the information it requires.
“We look forward to seeing the Island community, and the State of South Australia, benefiting as soon as possible from the production and sale of sustainably grown plantation timber on Kangaroo Island.
“We also anticipate advantages to other sectors of the Island’s economy, as a new freight access option is opened.
“At the same time, we recognise that a transformative project such as this raises questions and doubts. We look forward to presenting the facts. We welcome the opportunity to engage with the community and we re-commit ourselves to listening … and addressing any concerns wherever we can.”
Mr Sergeant meanwhile was on Kangaroo Island last week to meet with SA Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister, Tim Whetstone.
Mr Whetstone also visited Yumbah Aquaculture, adjacent to the the proposed seaport at Smith Bay, where he heard concerns about the development from the company’s founding director Anthony Hall.
The minister said he had promised to come and check out the site if the proposed seaport and said he walked the short distance from Yumbah’s abalone farm to where the 250-metre breakwater and woodchip loading facility was being proposed.
“While the final decision for the project is the responsibility of the Planning Minister, I will be forming a view of the development that I will share in the cabinet room,” Mr Whetstone said.
Mr Hall said Yumbah Aquaculture welcomed the lodging of the draft EIS.
“The unfortunate reality is that this long awaited EIS is already obsolete, addressing two-year-old concerns regarding a deep-water wharf development,” Mr Hall said.
“Since then Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has expanded its ambition to now contemplate a 225-hectare ‘KI Seaport’ and adjacent wood chip ‘facility’ whose grand scale demands a completely new and reframed EIS.
“As KIPT’s managing director said on community radio last week, the community has every right to be sceptical about its proposal.
“Yumbah can only question how KIPT can guarantee its export woodchip terminal serviced by super-panamax freighters and B-double trucks will have ‘no significant negative effect on any matters of national environmental significance’ and also declare with unqualified certainty that there would be ‘no negative effects on the land-based abalone farm’.
“Yumbah’s position has long been very clear: we support enhanced freight options for Kangaroo Island, but not at the expense of the environment and our globally-recognised aquaculture business, and the high-skilled jobs and investment we bring to KI and the South Australian economy.”