KUR-World Community Reference Group 2nd Meeting

KUR-World Community Reference Group
Second Meeting: Wednesday 15th February 3-5 pm at 112 Barnwell Road

Minutes

Attendees:
Cathy Retter, Kuranda Envirocare (Local Environment and Planning rep)
Kathryn Edwards (Community and Social rep - Neighbour)
Susan Darby, RDA FNQ & TS, proxy for Allan Dale (Regional Development Australia rep)
Gary Searle, Terrain (Natural Resource Management rep)
Anita Veivers, Centacare Cairns (Regional Social Services rep)
Michael Huelin, WGC Lawyers (KUR-World)
Geraldine McGuire, SSG, Social Coordinator (KUR-World)
Ana Palma, SSG (KUR-World)
Neil Boland, NRA, Environmental Coordinator (KUR-World)
Harry Sou, Chief Operations Manager, KUR-World
Mark Lawson, Project Manager, KUR-World

Apologies:
Joe Moro (Mareeba Chamber of Commerce, Mareeba District Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association), Nerida Mitchell (Cairns Airport), Nathan Lee Long, (ARUP Infrastructure, KUR-World), Alex Blake (KUR-World), Dominic Hammersley (Cardno Planning, KUR-World)

Notes: Sharon Jones (Kuranda District State College) is seeking another representative from the Education Department.
The process to engage the adequate traditional owners’ representation is underway. Anthropologists and a Native Title lawyer are studying the claims and having meetings to engage the correct representatives.

Agenda:

1. Review of past minutes
Protocol to review and publish minutes was discussed.
Greater detail in the minutes was requested and it was agreed that a draft should be distributed to attendees for their feedback before finalisation and publishing on the KUR-World website.

ACTION: Draft minutes will be sent to CRG for review and feedback before being finalised and published online.

2. Environmental Studies & Water Quality concerns
Water quality is a high concern for the community. Not only because diminished water quality could affect frogs’ habitat, but also their own water supply. Maps of the current sampling points for water quality studies were explained. Water quality monitoring started in December to gather pre-wet data and will continue until at least 10 different events have been sampled. Two flush events have been sampled (first flush in January 2017 and another flush was sampled in February 2017).
All tests and components of the water quality studies are done under the guidelines that meet Queensland and Australian standards. The recent sampling shows that under normal wet season conditions (between peak rainfall events) the water flowing into the site from Haren Creek has higher total suspended solids (TSS) per litre (mg/L) than the water leaving the site in Owen Creek. However, during wet season events (for example >80mm in 24 hours) sediment from Barnwell site is mobilised/remobilised resulting in elevated total suspended solids in Owen Creek.
Underground water sources: Currently, historical records of bores off-site around the area are being gathered. Sustainability and capacity studies of underground water resources have not started yet. These studies will be very important to guide the infrastructure designs for water use and environmental protection.

3. Environmental constraints
Environmental studies and current legislation including the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQ ROC) guidelines provide the constraints for the development. As information becomes available with the studies, these constraints are unified. A map showing the current constraints was used to illustrate the buffers along the creek and vegetation clearing constraints. This map contains buffers along creeks not only to protect frogs’ habitat, but also to maintain the water quality that drains via local creeks and on to the Great Barrier Reef.

4. Infrastructure & Master Plan
The Master Plan for the proposed development is being revised to reduce traffic within the
site and to accommodate environmental constraints. Conversations with the Mareeba Shire
Council (MSC) and the Department of Transport and Main Roads are underway to discuss waste
removal, water supply and access points to the site. A number of options are still being
considered for the main access to the site. None of the changes are expected to require a revision
of the Initial Advice Statement (IAS).

ACTION: The revised Master Plan will be presented to the CRG at the next meeting.

5. Social Impact Assessment Team/Stakeholder Engagement
Studies to address Indigenous Cultural Heritage, Native Title Rights, Non-Indigenous Cultural Heritage, socio-economic impacts and hazards, health and safety components have recently started. Currently baseline data is being collected.

Consultants:

  • Cummings Economics: Economic Impact Assessment
  • Strategic Disaster Solutions: Hazards, Health and Safety
  • Dr Åsa Ferrier and Alice Buhrich: Indigenous Cultural Heritage Assessment
  • Dr Justine Thorp: Non-Indigenous Cultural Heritage Assessment
  • Cardno: Visual Impacts Assessment
  • Dr Jonathan Fulcher: Native Title Lawyer
  • SSG: Social and community impacts

The native title lawyer is assessing if an Indigenous Land Use Agreement will be required. Anthropologists and archaeologists are engaging with traditional owners via the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC). This process is crucial and needs to be done properly to engage the correct parties as there is a complex ownership over the property and links to adjacent traditional and historic Indigenous groups.
Community engagement activities are underway. An open day to the broader community will be held on Saturday (February 18th, 2017). People will have the opportunity to visit the site and meet the technical coordinators for the different components of the project (environment, infrastructure, and social).
Newsletters on the project’s webpage and in the Kuranda newspaper are published periodically. The CRG also is a channel to deliver info from and to the broader community.
It was noted that the hard copies of the KUR-World survey forms could only be returned to KUR-World by scanning and emailing to email/info)(kur-world.com.

ACTION: Other means of returning the hard copies of the KUR-World survey forms will be developed and advised.

Additional means of collecting feedback from neighbours was discussed and suggestions from the CRG will be sent through for consideration.

ACTION: Additional means of receiving feedback from neighbours and Kuranda residents will be discussed and progressed before the next meeting.

6. Feedback and Next Steps:
Geofabric: Concerns about geofabric placed in Owen Creek were raised. This fabric has rolled up with debris and is blocking the creek. Concern was raised that this fabric may be washed downstream and create further damage.

ACTION: The environmental team will investigate and remove this material.

Water Quality Presentation: Community concerns regarding water quality will be addressed on the open day. Maps showing the creeks and monitoring points will be explained and preliminary results will be shared.

Summary Information: A request to include summary information on the project as part of the minutes was raised. The newsletters provide a regular update and summary of projects’ activities, these are available on the KUR-World website, in the Kuranda paper and will also be emailed to the participants.

Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country: The report is now available – Terrain are the custodians of the plan on behalf of the community. Terrain have now got a short summary document outlining the core elements and priority actions of the plan.

MSC Planning Scheme Environmental Overlay: The Mareeba Shire Council will revise the Environmental Overlay in their Planning Scheme. This includes a review of the matters of local environmental significance as contained in the 2013 public notification version of the planning scheme, and the preparation of suitable planning scheme amendments. This will help to transition similar matters of local environmental significance into the adopted Mareeba Shire Council Planning Scheme. Consideration will need to be given to the timing of the planning scheme amendment and its potential effects on the EIS process, but also to KUR-WORLD engaging in the planning scheme amendment consultation process.

Kuranda Region Planning Group KUR-World Survey: From the 400 gathered submissions, 90% disagreed with the proposed development. Results from this survey indicate that Kuranda residents least agree with the residential components of the proposed development, the destruction of the environment and community, the issues regarding the Kuranda Range Rd and the cost of infrastructure. They also dislike the helipad and the shopping precinct. Potential positive outcomes for the community include, the rainforest education centre, the student campus and the resort. However, this survey is biased, since mostly people who have negative views will be attracted to filling in the survey information.
The respondents did not believe the project will create employment for the locals and confusion existed about the use of employees with 457 visas who would also be students. It was explained that a 457 visa is for skilled workers and requires a sponsor (an employer), they are not students.
Some local residents have strong emotional responses when issues about the project are raised. This is not only because people are worried about the environment, but also because dealing with change is not easy.

Next Community Reference Group Meeting to be held on Wednesday 19th April, 3-5pm

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