Kangaroo Island Council reconfirms opposition to KPT's proposed timber port at Smith Bay

JANUARY MEETING: The Kangaroo Island Council at its January meeting. Image: Stan Gorton
JANUARY MEETING: The Kangaroo Island Council at its January meeting. Image: Stan Gorton

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers' updated Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed deep-water port at Smith Bay is out for public consultation.

An information session on the addendum to the EIS will be held at the council chambers on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Submissions are due by February 12.

The KI Council at its January meeting on Tuesday this week discussed KIPT's updated EIS at length. Councillors were critical of the company for not addressing their concerns about the impact of timber harvesting on the Island's road infrastructure and the marine environment at Smith Bay.

Deputy Mayor Bob Teasdale's move to send a "strong message" to the state government listing the council's concern on roads, marine pests and other issues was passed unanimously.

"Council notes that road routes proposed in the EIS Second Addendum are little changed from previous proposals and would require substantial investment to even begin to ensure the safety and amenity of tourists and residents, and the protection of native fauna," the move read.

"The council considers that the KIPT response to its traffic and road network concerns is both inadequate and superficial. The response lacks any substantive analysis of construction and maintenance methods and funding, and fails to consider alternate means of realising value from its product."

Cr Sam Mumford raised a new concern about KIPT's plan to place up to 150,000 tonnes of burned pine logs into MacGill's Dam for preservation purposes.

He feared the logs would turn the lake acidic and its location at the headwaters of the Cygnet River could mean the entire waterway down to Nepean Bay could be affected.

A second move raised by Cr Peter Denholm calling for an investigation by the Environmental Protection Authority into KIPT's dam proposal was passed unanimously.

KIPT managing director Keith Lamb said no concerns were raised when the MacGill dam plan was run past Natural Resources KI, now the Landscapes Board.

He said the company would have a representative at the public information session on Feb. 2 that was being organised by the state government's Planning and Land Use Services and the Attorney-General's Department

KIPT's proposed Smith Bay port and jetty in black and the neighbouring Yumbah Aquaculture abalone farm marked in yellow directly adjacent.

KIPT's proposed Smith Bay port and jetty in black and the neighbouring Yumbah Aquaculture abalone farm marked in yellow directly adjacent.

Yumbah responds to EIS addendum

Yumbah Aquaculture's abalone farm is located directly adjacent to KIPT's proposed port at Smith Bay.

Yumbah director Anthony Hall gave credit to the state government and KI Council for demanding transparency and accountability over KIPT's plans for Smith Bay and KI's roads.

He criticised KIPT's submissions to the planning process so far and said the community was only now learning the preferred trucking routes and biosecurity plans.

"Nothing KPT says changes the reality of the situation on KI," Mr Hall said.

"KPT has few trees of quality and is facing a crowded market for burnt timber. And hence it has no business case other than to sell the seaport.

"This is a seaport for nothing, and it should go nowhere. Even if it is built - it will become an albatross around the neck of Islanders left to clean up the mess."

Mr Lamb said responded by noting the trucking routes were identified and discussed in the Draft EIS published in January 2019 - see Chapter 21 (p 455, pp 460-462 in particular) and Appendix P.

"The roads which would be used are listed on page 460. The studies published in Appendix P show KI Council was actively engaged in the process of establishing how timber products should be delivered to Smith Bay."

Regarding Yumbah's concern about bio-security, Mr Lamb said KIPT had provided the bio-security plans published in the Second Addendum in response to the request from the chairperson of the State Planning Commission on October 30.

"Up until that point, the advice from the Department of Planning was that this information was not required until after the KI Seaport had been approved."

Regarding Mr Hall's allegations that there was a crowded market for burnt timber and no business case, Mr Lamb responded that the public consultation process did not seek feedback on timber markets or the strategy of the business.

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