Dear Cr Pamela Rothfield
Mayor - Bass Coast Shire Council
As you are no doubt aware Infrastructure Victoria are in the process of preparing recommendations to State Government on the timing and location of a second container port for Victoria. Their final report to Government is due in May 2017.
Based on 3 years of research and engagement with our community we lodged a comprehensive submission to Infrastructure Victoria in January 2017. The submission outlined the potential economic and environmental impacts of industrialising Western Port with the construction of a container port. These impacts include risks to tourism, recreational fishing and boating, increased coastal erosion particularly on the north Shore of Phillip Island, salt water entering and poisoning farming aquifers following dredging, carbon sink release and loss of the natural environment for residents and visitors.
Our submission also included and supported the Bass Coast Shire Council Port of Hastings Guiding Principles developed with key stakeholders in April 2016. We have attached a copy of our report to Infrastructure Victoria for your reference.
We are aware that a recognised risk to the Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035 is the industrialisation of Western Port and the construction of a container port.
We are somewhat disappointed that key stakeholder Phillip Island Nature Parks did not lodge a submission to the independent agency Infrastructure Victoria given the risks imposed of having 6,000 container ships passing through our marine life’s feeding and breeding grounds.
We are also aware that Infrastructure Victoria intends to release a report on evidence it has received in the very near future. We understand that this report will then lead to a final phase of engagement and opportunity for further submissions.
We urge Council to be ready to initiate the appropriate processes and, if necessary, the formation of a committee or advisory group to respond to the anticipated Infrastructure Victoria report and subsequent engagement.
Given the imminent Infrastructure Victoria report, engagement and submission timeline to Government we request a meeting with all Councillors to further discuss the responses.We believe our proposed discussions should occur as soon as possible and preferably sometime this month.