Image for The short-term thinking ...

*Pic: Image from here: Tigercat tracked harvester delimbing and topping a felled E. nitens stem during the SMZ harvesting study. Note the slash coverage remaining in the harvested area (photo by Daniel G. Neary)

First published July 3

On June 26th community group Save Our South organised a public meeting in Dover to raise awareness on the Proposal by Southwood Fibre for an 800,000 processing & export facility in the Huon Valley. 

This was the fifth public meeting in Dover and the second chaired by Malcom Wells since the proposal was announced in November 2017. 

Approximately 70 residents turned out to hear presentations by six speakers in the Dover school hall.

Wren Fraser Cameron spoke from the perspective of someone who has seen the development and importance of Aquaculture grow in the region over the past 30 years. 

Her husband, who is an environment officer in the industry, strongly agrees with Tassal’s public statements that this proposal is not compatible with their operations in Port Esperance.

Local Architect, Gillian Richards gave a brief overview of the details of what is proposed and an update on the current situation of the development approval application.

Dr David de Little gave a review of the pros and cons of Nitens plantation timber and its potential uses and failings.

David’s presentation aimed to show the short-term thinking around focusing on woodchip production alone from the valuable timber resource Tasmania still has.  He also spoke of the lack of land in the south for viable long-term plantation production.

Vica Bayley, campaign manager from the Wilderness Society showed data of the apparent significant shortfall of plantation timber within the radius of 180km to supply the facility in the near and longer-term future. 

It was clear from Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s data quantity proposed for this facility would require the use of planation, state government residues and native forest supplied from as far away as the East Dewent region.

Yes, through Hobart.

Gary Ashdown, owner of a local award-winning bed and breakfast and president of the Far South Tourism Association spoke of the enormous and rapidly growing tourism industry in Tasmania. 

He passionately described the transformation and economic growth seen in recent years because of nature-based tourism and how these values would be seriously impacted by this proposal.

Retired Scientist Arthur Clarke spoke of the serious biosecurity and pollution risks proposed by allowing internationally flagged ships into these waters. 

He documented the ship size ranging from between 180 to 200m long (40,000 to 52,000 DWT).  Up to three and a half times the length of the largest marine traffic in the area at present. 

He also poignantly told of how the lack of harbour control on site further puts at risk the locality because of a serious lack of independent oversite of the site.

With the view to the future long term Local Resident Sandra Garland spoke of seeing the rise and fall of the community due to the community losing control of the natural resources and industries over the decades. 

She also presented winners for a Save Our South competition which asked the community for a better vision for the future that would benefit all. 

Following the formal presentations, the audience was invited to ask questions and to review the documents detailing the proposal.  More than half of the audience stayed beyond this time to continue the discussions.

Throughout the month of June meetings have also been held in Cygnet, Bruny Island, Huonville and Hobart chaired by Jenny Weber from the Bob Brown Foundation.  It is becoming clear that awareness and concern is growing right across and beyond the valley. 

This concern is creating unprecedented agreement from industry, green and community groups, proving that the impacts of this proposal far outway any conceivable benefit.

Save Our South invited representatives from Southwood Fibre and Tassal to speak but they were unable to attend.

Presentations, ‘Ideas for the Future Winners’ and further information on the concerns around this proposal can be found at farsouthfuture.org.