A number of queries have been raised with us, we have set out those questions in full below and provided answers in as much detail as we can at this time. We will update the information below with additional detail where required as soon as we are able.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here if you have any further queries or would like to discuss any aspect of our proposal with us.
Kind regards, Southwood Fibre team.
Only a very small number of local jobs at the facility in Dover. The developer has indicated that there may be approximately 2-3 FTE ongoing jobs, once the construction phase has been completed and 8 casuals when the bulk export carrier is loaded. (N.B. The developer's projected employment figures appear to be based on a maximum total throughput of 800,000 tonnes of woodchips per year and may fall short of estimates if production does not reach this level.)
This is incorrect. That is the number of jobs that will be employed directly with Southwood Fibre loading facility but not the number of jobs that will be created locally. KPMG prepared an independent Social and Economic Impact Assessment in August 2017 and found the following:
- 117 jobs will be created at the Woodchip loading facility during construction and 18 jobs at the Timber Processing facility during the two-year construction period.
- Once operational, 145 jobs will be supported by the project and contribute some $55.18 million in additional value to the local economy. These will be in support roles including transport, logistics, administration and finance.
- Around the Dover area this will be jobs that will include harvesting, driving, processing and maintenance tree planting. These will need some training which we can initiate within the industry and through government incentive training programmes
- Generally, these people can earn between $700 - $1000 per week dependant on skillsets and positions are they are performing, this work is ongoing and sustainable for the area.
Negative impact on local house prices - few additional jobs to draw new residents to the area but many negative impacts to turn buyers away, including visual impact on bay.
- All of the support roles, in particular transport, administration, harvesting will need to be local. The numbers produced in the KPMG report are local jobs not remote positions.
- We are confident that there will be very little visual impact to the Port Esperance Bay, the stockpile will be mostly hidden due to the nature and position of the site. We are currently working on a 3D image to show this.
- We believe this proposal will create demand growth for housing in the local area placing upward pressure on house prices.
The development will have a significant visual impact on Port Esperance Bay. The developer has indicated that site will encompass 20 hectares of forest, which is likely to be cleared to accommodate the facility. Despite not being given any sight lines, dimensions, or set backs for the proposal, it is quite clear that at the very least there will be many Dover residents who will see the site, woodchip stockpiles, 100m wharf, and bulk carriers.
- The load handling facility will not be located right in Port Esperance Bay but out in the channel. Parts of it will be visible from Dover but the woodchip stock pile and all operations will be hidden from view. All that will be visible will be groynes and parts of the vessel when produce is being loaded.
- We have sought approval from the Huon Valley Council to release our development application and all accompanying documents in full immediately, prior to the normal public comment period.
Uncertainty lingers regarding the size of the bulk export carrier that will transport the woodchips out of Port Esperance. The developer has stated that ships used at the facility would be no larger than 45,000 tonne capacity and that the wharf will be engineered to accommodate this size ship. However, Mr. Peet conceded that moving a projected 800,000 tonne of woodchip in ships of this size would actually require a ship every 2-3 weeks, not once every 6 weeks as proposed. 45,000 tonne ships are approximately 25m high above the waterline making them nearly as tall as Hope Island. 45,000 tonne carriers appear to be around 200m long. Despite being asked repeatedly, the developer is not providing clear figures regarding the length of the vessel.
- We will endeavour to provide exact sizes of vessels as soon as possible, however vessels generally are approx. 240 metres long with a height of approximately 20-25mtrs above the water mark at the highest point (wheel house).
- We expect to actually export approx. 500,000 green metric tonnes per year of woodchips, the other 300,000 green metric tonnes will possibly be sold as peeler logs if the price for that product is of more value with greater return for the owners of the trees, however within our application we must allow for this volume also in case the peeler market declines.
- To move 500,000 green metric tonnes will be 11 vessels per year, which will be one approximately every 4.5 weeks.
- This is a typical vessel measurement to load 45,000 green metric tonnes of woodchip but they can vary slightly.
Flag: Hong Kong [HK]
AIS Vessel Type: Cargo
Gross Tonnage: 41484
Deadweight: 51152 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 199.95m × 32.2m
Year Built: 1998
Read more at http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:686458/mmsi:477219500/imo:9157337/vessel:NAVITEC#bWPBLZ0SdRuLlFu1.99
Impact on Tourism
Many Far South Tourism operators as well as local businesses that rely on tourism are very concerned about the impact of this proposal. The tourism industry is an important contributor to the local economy and there are fears this project may jeopardise more jobs and businesses than it claims to support. The developer claims that the impact on tourism will be ‘negligible’ but no analysis has been undertaken to demonstrate this.
- This is incorrect – we have engaged KPMG to do a comprehensive social and economic impact assessment based on our development application. This report is publicly available on the Southwood website at www.southwood.net and includes analysis of impact on local business owners and operators as well as local residents.
- The report concludes there will be negligible impact on tourism businesses.
The developers acknowledged that 12-15 B-doubles per hour, 10 hours per day, 6 days per week would be used between the mill and the export facility via forestry roads where possible. The developer claims that woodchip trucks will for the most part use forestry roads. There are no safeguards to ensure this will happen.
- We are happy to work closely with the community to ensure appropriate safeguards are put in place to ensure their satisfaction regarding truck movements.
- The fact that trucks will use forestry roads rather than public roads underpins our entire project development application. We would not put this assurance in our development application to Government unless we fully intended to comply with this.
- All trucks will be instructed and required to use the forestry roads indicated in our development application and on maps available on our website. This is the most practical route for us and trucks will only intersect the Huon Highway at one location, which will be upgraded to facilitate this.
- An outline of truck movements per day between the Integrated Timber Processing facility and the loading facility is provided at the bottom of this page. It is based on the following assumptions:
- That either 500,000 or 800,000 tonnes of product will need to be transported to the loading facility each year;
- That movements will occur 24 hours, 5 days a week, for 48 weeks per year (240 days a year);
- That vehicle load weights will be either 36 or 43 tonnes;
- Concludes that between 4 and 7.7 truck movements (from the timber processing facility to the loading facility and return) per hour.
The developer has stated that they would not pass residential properties on route to the loading facility, but a number of local residents stated at the public meeting that their property will be affected by the proposal.
- Our traffic impact assessment indicates that trucks will not pass a single residential property and the entire project has been developed with this requirement in mind.
- We are very keen to meet with any residents who feel their properties will be affected by the truck movements.
- Danny Peet has already met with one concerned resident and has realigned the traffic route to address their concerns, this has resulted in an amicable outcome, this resident is very satisfied of the outcome.
- We are not aware of any other concerns regarding traffic passing near other properties only the one which we have addressed.
Truck movements will affect access to important local tourism and recreational assets, including Duck Hole Lake, the tracks to Adamsons Falls and Peak, Flat Rock picnic and camping grounds, and Tahune Airwalk. The level of truck travel on these roads will make them dangerous for other users.
- We are very happy to meet with local tourism operators who also use these forestry roads and discuss traffic movements and impact. We are keen to operate with as little disruption to local businesses and residents as possible. Indeed our whole project has been developed with this in mind.
- Danny Peet has met with Tahune owner to discuss and explain the truck routes and upgrades, this has relieved most of his concerns, with him being mindful of upgrades that will make it safer for tourists to travel the roads.
According to the Traffic Impact Assessment by Milan Prodanovic: “At Southwood, there will be additional trucks entering and exiting delivering logs for chipping. It is expected there will be up to 400 loaded trucks per week or 800 truck movements both ways." The Social and Economic Impact Assessment by KPMG (p.6) provided by the developer indicates that logs will be sourced from a 180km radius around the mill site. There is no modelling or mapping available regarding the movements of the trucks carrying logs to the mill. The proponent implies they will largely pay for the infrastructure yet the traffic report suggests that if there is a shortfall in funds OR that public roads are inadequate both the state and local government will need to make up the shortfall. ‘Proponent to contribute to road extensions and upgrades’ (p.3). What percentage will it contribute? Is this akin to a blank cheque from the government? ‘Additional rate revenue can be applied to maintain the road network’ (p.3).
- This is a major project that will be funded by the private sector.
Compulsory measures of the treatment of ballast water would be introduced in 2024 for all international shipping. This proposal aims to be operational prior to this date. Current restrictions on the exchange of ballast water would be in place but it is not clear who would be monitoring or enforcing these regulations at the facility.
- These measures would be regulated by Government authorities as is the case with other projects.
- Southwood Fibre can also demand and put in place on board treatment for all ballast water for any vessel coming into the facility, we are working with government and the fish farms to ensure we use world best practices in this approach to biosecurity
Impact on Aquaculture
Marine ecological assessment by Marine Solutions Tasmania provided by the developer stated that there are also potential risks to the salmon industry from disturbance of the sediments & fibre overspill in the water that will need ongoing monitoring with the industry. The potential impact on the local aquaculture industry remains unclear.
- The Marine Ecological Survey concludes after assessing the development proposal and site in detail that construction should be undertaken within the boundaries of a Construction Environmental Management Plan, that visual marine mammal survey of the area should be conducted during works and lists key measures to minimise harm from sediment.
- We fully intend to comply with all of these recommendations and any others imposed through the approvals process.
- Southwood Fibre are in consultation and working with the aquaculture industry to ensure there is no impact or risk to the fish farming industry.
Swift Parrot Habitat
Forestry Tasmania (Sustainable Timber Tasmania) mapping (p.20) indicates that the subject site lies within the habitat of the threatened swift parrot (please see Image: Swift Parrot Breeding Areas below). As mentioned, it is unclear how much forest will be cleared to accommodate the facility but possibly up to 20-30 hectares. The developer is yet to release the flora and fauna report but has stated verbally that the site has no particular conservation values.
We are happy to continue to work with all groups to ensure we do not risk the environment, we have done extensive research in the fauna and flora and are still continuing to appraise all aspects, we have found no evidence of Swift parrot habitat or risk to any other fauna or flora in our proposal.
Where will the profits go?
The financial backers of this proposal have not been identified. Could the majority of the profits from this go overseas?
As discussed at the meeting, Southwood Fibre are currently funding the project,
This project will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the local economy. Trees planted for the sole purpose of producing woodchips will be converted to cash and areas replanted. The local economy will be the biggest beneficiary of this project as well as local tree owners, big and small.
No Community Licence
No community consultation has occurred during the 18 month preparation period of this plan and the developer continues to withhold information from the community about this proposal. Extensive documentation has been submitted to the Huon Valley Council regarding the proposal but only a portion of this material has been made public. The developer left it to the community to organise the public meeting. The developer has no community licence on which to proceed.
This statement is not true we asked for the meeting, it was then organised.
Documentation has some legal status and at this time we cannot distribute it all, although we have sought permission from the Huon Valley Council to release the documentation in full as stated above.
We met with the community once we had enough information on the proposal to show an outline of the site and road network and we were ready to lodge it with Council.
Lack of Representation
The Huon Valley Council is currently under administration so the public have no avenue of representation on this major project.
Southwood Fibre have no influence on this process however we are always willing to discuss any aspects of the proposal with the public