Tough time ahead for port proponents

THE proponents of WA’s first private port and sheep holding facility will face a tough battle to sell their projects to the Kwinana community.

The Public Environmental Reviews for the multi-million-dollar projects were released last Monday and plans from both port proponents – James Point and sheep holding facility proponents James Point Livestock – have met with a cold reception from residents.

In the lead up the release of the PERs, residents and community organisations raised numerous concerns about odours, pollution, transport routes and noise.

James Point Livestock spokesman Bryn Martin said that, while all of the above issues had been adequately addressed in the PERs, there was one issue that the company simply could not address.

“The live sheep trade is an emotive issue and it is one we can not deal with, there is no plan we can ever supply to deal with it, ” Mr Martin said.

“We have covered everything else, odour, noise, transport, animal welfare and what we would ask people to do is to assess the proposals on these real issues.”

James Point Livestock wants to build a series of three-tiered livestock pens with the capacity to hold up to 250,000 sheep at a time.

The company hopes to build the holding facility to complement James Point’s proposal for a general cargo port.

If both project are given the go ahead, the two would work in tandem to challenge the Fremantle Port Authority for its $157 million annual income generated by the livestock export trade.

While it is hoped that the livestock trade will comprise a large part of the port’s business, it also is expected to ship fertilisers, steel, mineral sands and cars.

In the livestock facility PER, odour was an area of greatest concern and several strategies to combat smells were listed.

Apart from locating the holding facilities twice, the Environmental Protection Authority recommended distance from the nearest residents. James Point Livestock proposes to reduce odours by managing the diet of the animals, regularly cleaning the facility flooring, removing all waste from the site and providing cover and ventilation for the animals.

Kwinana Watchdog Group chairperson Dot Hesse said residents were outraged at the proposals and a recent petition against the projects had collected more than 2000 signatures in three days.

“People are horrified … they don’t want this disgraceful trade down here,” Mrs Hesse said.

“Resident just don’t believe the strategies will work that they will not have to suffer noise and the terrible smells.”

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