LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Planning workshops

One of the major ongoing issues that residents and local business owners have with councils is getting a painless planning approval for new building projects.
A series of “planning workshops” for residential and commercial developments, would go a long way to reducing these issues, by improving communication
between council officers and those planning something.
Many aspects of the regulations seem subject to interpretation, or create a lack of full understanding on all requirements, leading to potential dramas and extra cost.
The workshops could cover different aspects of the process, including topics like new construction or alterations, changed land or building use, land clearing or excavation, and  obligations  of a  bushfire plan.
The current seminars that HVC is running for potential councillors have proven very useful for those considering the October elections, and planning workshops should prove to be equally beneficial  for all concerned.
Stan Armstrong
Cygnet

Ferry fiasco
How did they manage to get it all so wrong in planning the replacement for the Bruny Island
ferry service?
We all know that capacity in peak season has been a problem for years, but how can introducing new boats of only half the size help the situation?
Judging by the complaints from Bruny residents and tourism operators, there does not seem to have been any proper consultation prior to the decision process.
Bob Clifford of Incat has described the planned new vessels as “small, slow and cheap”, which seems a fair tag considering their travel time will be 22 minutes, compared to only 15 minutes for the
Incat alternative.
A drop in capacity from 282 cars per hour to only 216, can surely only be considered to be a
backward step.
These new vessels are being funded by the Tasmanian community, and so every effort should be  made to ensure that their construction supports our local industry.
Rosie Craske
Cygnet

Dover woodchip port meeting
On 26 June, community group Save Our South (SOS) organised a public meeting in Dover to raise awareness on the proposal by Southwood Fibre for an 800,000-tonne processing and 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 Frasier Cameron spoke from the perspective of someone who has seen the development and importance of aquaculture grow in the region over the last 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 port proposal and an update on 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 shortcomings.
David’s presentation highlighted the short-term thinking around using Tasmania's remaining valuable timber resources for woodchip production.  He also spoke about the lack of land in the south for viable long-term plantation production.
Vica Bayley, campaign manager from the Wilderness Society, presented evidence of the significant lack of plantation timber within a 180km radius of the facility. It was clear from Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s data that the port would require the use of planation timber, state government residues, and native forest supplied from as far away as the east Derwent, which would be transported through Hobart.
Gary Ashdown, owner of a local award-winning bed and breakfast, and president of the Far South Tourism Association, spoke about Tasmania's rapidly growing tourism industry. He passionately described the transformation and economic growth of recent years through nature-based tourism, and how this would be seriously affected by the proposed port.
Retired scientist Arthur Clarke spoke of the serious biosecurity and pollution risks of allowing internationally flagged ships into these waters. He expects that the port would be serviced by ships ranging from 180m to 200m long (40,000 to 52,000 deadweight tonnage). These would be up to three and a half times the length of the largest vessels in the area at present. Mr Clarke also said the lack of harbour control would put the locality further at risk because of a serious lack of
independent oversight.
Local resident Sandra Garland spoke of seeing the rise and fall of the community as it has lost control of its natural resources and industries over past decades. She also announced the winners of a SOS competition which challenged the community to find
a better vision for the future which would benefit all. 
Following the formal presentations, the audience was invited to ask questions and review the proposal documents. More than half the audience then stayed to
continue discussions.
Meetings were also held in Cygnet, Bruny Island, Huonville and Hobart during June. They were chaired by Kenny Webber from the Bob Brown Foundation. It is becoming clear that awareness and concern is growing across and beyond the Huon Valley. This is creating unprecedented agreement among industry, environmental, and community groups, proving that the impact of this proposal far outweighs any conceivable benefit.
SOS invited representatives from Southwood Fibre and Tassal to speak but they were unable
to attend.
Presentations, the winners of the Ideas for the Future competition, and further information can be found at farsouthfuture.org.
Gillian Richards
On Behalf of SOS

Letters to the editor are the opinions of the writers, whose name and address appear with each letter, and do not necessarily express the opinions of this publication. Letters are published in part or full at the sole discretion of the editor and no correspondence will be entered into. Please keep letters short and to the point.

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