PENINSULA Ports is planning further community engagement with the Tumby Bay and Eyre Peninsula communities about its Port Spencer project, as further questions and concerns have been raised by locals.
The organisation held a Community Consultative Group meeting at Tumby Bay on Monday night before holding a farmers information evening at Cleve on Tuesday, which also involved representatives from ProManage Australia.
At the consultative meeting, questions and concerns were raised about the environmental impacts on the surrounding site, whether the project was economically viable and efforts to communicate with locals.
PP chief executive officer Greg Walters said any environmental issues had been addressed in the Public Environmental Report, approved by the state government last month, with additional requirements for turbidity monitoring.
He said there was full confidence in the long-term benefits of the port, which would have a low operating cost, and dismissed any claims it would be built up to be sold-off later.
"We have confidence the port would continue operating through good and bad years," he said.
Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer attended the consultative meeting and said there was still a level of contention about the project.
They're saying they've talked to the growers owning each side of the Lipson Cove Road, those growers were both at the meeting and said they had not been contacted.
"Some of the explanations given by the proponents needed more details and the community are certainly asking more questions," he said.
"The area around the port site has a significant community ownership aspect and the community want to ensure that there is as little impact as possible if a project was to go forward."
Mr Walters said they found the people who attended the Cleve meeting were "very receptive" about the project, the competition it would bring to the region and benefits to farmers.
Other positive comments raised by attendees included more competitive local grain prices, trucks being diverted away from Port Lincoln and the possibility of further development projects.
Butler Tanks mixed farmer Mark Pfitzner, who also owns the Port Neill Post and Trade, was very critical of the Free Eyre project.
"PP didn't offer any new news, and Free Eyre didn't offer any opportunity to talk directly to them," he said.
"They're saying they've talked to the growers owning each side of the Lipson Cove Road, those growers were both at the meeting and said they had not been contacted."
Mr Walters said PP would be engaging further with the community, including site neighbours, in the coming months as it aims to start construction within the month, pending final approvals.
Engagement would include the engineering design for the upgrade of Lipson Cove Road with site neighbours; the Council Technical Working Group (made up of Cleve, Lower Eyre Peninsula and Tumby Bay district councils) to fund and prepare a business case of the east-west road network on Lower EP and with the EP Local Government Association to implement a road maintenance fund to support key road upgrades.
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There are also plans to work with Tumby Bay District Council on a road maintenance agreement for Lipson Cove Road, begin funding support for community projects and to clean up Rogers Beach and maintain public access.
Other groups PP will reach out to include local progress associations, Regional Development Australia, Landscape SA and the Barngarla people.
Mr Walters said the PP website would become a information hub for fact sheets and presentations.
"We understand there are important issues and we want to talk collaboratively to work through them," he said.
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