5 years and counting: Kangaroo Island Timber is still trying to build its controversial port
Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation has been planning its shipping port on the South Australian island since early 2014 and hopes a revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will clear some of the many roadblocks.
So far those hurdles include regulatory holdups and operational disputes with Yumbah, a neighbouring abalone farm.
The original EIS was submitted to the SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) in September last year only to be sent back by for revision.
That followed an earlier holdup in March 2018, after the DPTI issued a stop-work because Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation didn’t have the correct approvals for drilling.
Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation says the updated EIS addresses all the government’s concerns.
There’s some history here
In addition to the government approval process, Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation has also been on the nose with neighbouring Yumbah, Australia’s largest abalone farm.
In April last year, Yumbah raised concerns about the effect of tidal currents in the construction process which could damage its abalone beds.
In today’s statement, Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation said the updated EIS “confirms that construction and operation of the facility would have no negative effects on the land-based abalone farm that is also located at Smith Bay.”
However, that assertion was disputed by Yumbah general manager David Connell.
“We are concerned about the claims,” Connell told Stockhead.
“At Yumbah we know this seaport will negatively affect our business; a business that has provided a steady stream of jobs and income to the Island for the past two decades.”
He said further growth has also “has been stifled for four years” due to shipping port proposal.
Connell is also concerned about the time frame for a response to the revised EIS. If approved by the government, the local community will then have six weeks to assess and refute any relevant claims in the proposal.
Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation is Australia’s only listed timber company, with about 25,000 hectares of land where it grows pine and eucalyptus.
In recent years, the company has looked to rebrand in the wake of the collapse of forestry managed invested schemes in the late 2000’s which left thousands of mum-and-dad investors out of pocket.
In a quarterly letter to shareholders last October, Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation managing director John Sergeant said plans to build the shipping port marked a pivot into infrastructure.
Mr Sergeant said that upon completion, the shipping port will be run through a 100 per cent-owned Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation subsidiary. The company may then look to bring traditional infrastructure players — such as industry super funds — on board as potential investors.
A short time ago, shares in Kangaroo Island Timber Plantation were unchanged in morning trade at $2.05 per share.