Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd (ASX:KPT) is preparing a formal response to address issues raised during a public consultation for the proposed Smith Bay Wharf project, which will include any resulting project enhancements.
A public and agency consultation for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has concluded with about 45 people attending the three information sessions and more than 1,000 written submissions received.
Most submissions were web-based form letters, solicited by opponents of the development and, in addition, many Kangaroo Island residents wrote individual letters of support.
KPT is seeking to build a wharf at Smith Bay on Kangaroo Island’s north coast to support the export of products from timber plantations.
The consultation process was run by the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), under the direction of the Minister for Planning, and accredited by the Commonwealth Department of Environment.
Based on initial analysis by the company and its specialist advisers, KPT does not believe that any of the issues raised in the consultation period should prevent the project from being approved in its current form.
Most are already addressed in the EIS, although some may require additional scientific and engineering analysis.
KPT believes that DPTI decisions to hold three public information sessions rather than the statutory minimum of one and to extend the formal consultation period for nine weeks rather than the minimum of six has benefited the community and, indeed, the project.
The company thanks those who attended the public sessions in Kingscote, Parndana and Adelaide and all those who made written submissions.
Several opponents, on and off the island, wrote letters or made detailed submissions, a small number of which were critical of the company, its staff, the timber industry, the EIS, the South Australian government and the whole development assessment process.
Some negative submissions raised legitimate issues of concern, produced new evidence or identified opportunities for improvement.
Others raised matters which are not relevant to the planning assessment or included claims that are inaccurate, misleading or lacking evidence.
KPT said this range of submissions was to be expected for a major project.
The company has reaffirmed its commitment to analyse and respond to all submissions, including those from government agencies.
It will do so constructively and respectfully, with a view to delivering the project in a way that benefits the island and the State, while protecting the environment and existing island businesses.
The major development assessment pathway encourages projects to be modified and improved, particularly in the light of public and agency comments.
KPT had already made design changes to reduce dredge quantities and to increase separation from sensitive receptors.
Further refinements expected
The company expects that, based on community and government feedback, it will make further refinements to lessen impacts where possible and to increase the benefits of the proposal for the community and the environment.
A formal response document, which is effectively a supplement to the original EIS, is being prepared and will be submitted to the DPTI.
This will address all issues raised during the public consultation and set out any project enhancements.
It is the final step before the preparation, by DPTI, of an assessment report upon which State and Commonwealth approval decisions are based.