Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers seeks approval for Smith Bay harbour boundaries

The proposed KIPT Smith Bay harbour boundaries as included in the KI Council minutes.

The proposed KIPT Smith Bay harbour boundaries as included in the KI Council minutes.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has sought approval for its harbour boundaries that extends out 1 nautical mile from the end of its proposed timber port jetty at Smith Bay.

Operating ports are required to have a defined harbour boundary, extending well out from jetties.

Although KIPT wants to build the port to load Panamax-size woodchip bulk carrier ships, the port is being assessed as a multi-use facility and so could potentially also be used for other shipping.

The Kangaroo Island Council after being consulted by State planners on the harbour proposal decided to voice its strong opposition to the entire Smith Bay project at its May meeting.

The council directed a letter be written to Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll, with whom the major project approval decision rests, stating its opposition.

Yumbah Aquaculture abalone farm sits adjacent to the proposed port and says the timber exporting port would endanger its operation and planned expansion.

Company director Anthony Hall wrote a letter to the council stating it has received an email from the State planning department about KIPT wanting to formalise its boundaries to 1.6 nautical miles from Smith Bay's shores.

He said the harbour proposal moved the development and its impacts much closer to its operation and impinged on existing leases and licences.

"The harbour is far bigger than the area subject to the EIS process," Mr Hall said. "Surely the exclusion of discussion of its extent is a clear breach of major project guidelines."

Other stakeholders who operate at Smith Bay have also voiced concerns about the proposed harbour boundaries.

Nature tour operator Andrew Neighbour from Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures is concerned about having to travel further away from the coast when shipping was present.

"This would have huge impacts on all north coast boaters," Mr Neighbour said. "Commercial operators have an operating envelope that includes sea state and most of the summer SE winds wouldn't allow us the then safety operate."

The commercial fishing group Wildcatch Fisheries South Australia has informed its members of the harbour boundaries proposal and commercial fishers on the north coast have previously voiced concern about the development.

The Islander sought comment from KIPT.