The company contracted Steed surveyors to assess the holding capacity of Sheep Creek Dam at its Macgill property for this purpose.
KIPT’s forestry consultant Rob Heathcote estimates the dam could hold 150,000 tonnes of logs when full, as they await transport off the Island.
This represents less than a quarter of the pine to be harvested on the Island.
Pine logs deteriorating
KIPT managing director Keith Lamb said the harvest of pine logs was more urgent than bluegum because pine did not regenerate after fire and the logs were deteriorating on the stump.
“These logs have a shelf life and the clock is ticking. Storing softwood in water is a proven way to preserve the log and many people in South Australia will remember the stories of log storage in the South-East after the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983.
“As soon as we receive State Government approval for the Kangaroo Island Seaport at Smith Bay we will start the harvest of pine.
"We can’t store all of it at Macgill’s but we may be able to access some temporary transport options alongside this and other storage solutions.
“The jetty at Smith Bay is still the critical part of the puzzle to activate the forestry industry on Kangaroo Island and KIPT is working hard on the harvest solutions and planning that will underpin the future of this industry that can bring so many benefits not just to our shareholders but also to the Kangaroo Island community.”
KIPT recently released the submission it made to the Keelty Review into SA’s Bushfires of 2019-20, which can be viewed here.
Lamb said: “I have been assured that our comprehensive submission was considered by the review and indeed, many of the points we made have been reiterated in the review’s findings.
“I think our shareholders and other stakeholders have a strong interest in understanding more about what happened last summer and what lessons the company can learn and implement for the coming season.”
The MD has also confirmed that KIPT’s planning and preparation for the 2020-21 bushfire season was well underway.
New Ministers welcomed
KIPT has also welcomed the South Australian Government appointments of Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman as the new Minister for Planning and David Basham as the Minister for Primary Industries.
“Both Ms Chapman and Mr Basham are very familiar with Kangaroo Island and with the issues facing the Island community and economy,” Lamb said.
Chapman is a landowner and farmer on Kangaroo Island where she was born and has a long family history.
As Planning Minister, she will be responsible for overseeing the Major Projects approval process and for approving the company’s proposed Kangaroo Island Seaport.
The MD said: “We look forward to working with Ms Chapman, who we are sure understands the issues facing the Island in relation to the harvesting and export of plantation timber and the opportunities the Kangaroo Island Seaport will present once completed.”
New Primary Industries Minister David Basham is also the Member for Finniss, the electorate which until the last election encompassed Kangaroo Island.
The 2019-20 bushfires have created an urgency regarding export of the damaged plantation timber. “We have been through a thorough assessment process, we are shovel-ready to build this transformative infrastructure and we’re ready to work with the new Ministers to achieve that,” Lamb added.