Dozens of people were left standing at a packed public meeting at Dover school last night, where Southwood representatives presented the case for a woodchip port opposite Dover in Port Esperance.
Searching questions from the crowd met with strong audience applause. Unanswered questions included the size of the woodchip pile, exact involvement of overseas investors, and the impact on tourism.
Despite assurances that trucks on roads would avoid residences, one local expressed dismay at the potential impact of noise on her property, “We’re horrified, I may need to sell up,” she said.
After repeated questioning on jobs, SmartFibre General Manager Danny Peet admitted that the claim of 145 direct and indirect jobs at the woodchip export facility boiled down to 2-3 full time direct jobs and another 8-10 only when a ship is in port.
When pressed by Greens MP Rosalie Woodruff, a consultant said that they would seek Huon Valley Council agreement for the entirety of its application to be released publicly. This document is more than 500 pages and has information not available on the public record.
Outside the meeting, Jenny Weber, Campaign Manager with the Bob Brown Foundation said, ‘The 30 hectare port facility and proposed new access road (both on forestry land) are in prime Swift Parrot habitat. This has alarm bells ringing for the survival of the critically endangered Swift Parrot, as an industrial development is proposed right by prime habitat.’
The media was not invited to the meeting.