Port Adelaide's development hits pollution snag

Artist's representation of the Newport Quays development.

Port Adelaide's Newport Quays luxury apartment development has run into difficulties. The release of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report reconfirmed high levels of industrial air pollution in the port and LeFevre Peninsular areas.

The report was presented to the Development Assessment Commission on July 15, but released only after a successful request by Greens parliamentary leader Mark Parnell. The Land Management Council has refused requests to release 27 of 28 further documents on pollution in the area.

Industrial pollution of Port Adelaide and its surrounding areas has been an issue for a long time, with a noticeably lower average life expectancy than other areas of Adelaide. The EPA report, however, has worried a lot of locals who were unaware of the seriousness of the threat.

The EPA also noted high danger levels from fire or explosion from ammonium nitrate fertiliser and fuel stored nearby. Work on the development has been suspended, possibly for two years if it is decided that Incitec Pivot Fertilisers is to relocate.

On November 3, 200 people attended a public meeting organised by the Greens that called for a parliamentary inquiry into the competing plans to expand heavy industry and housing in the area.

An example is the planned $50 million expansion of the Adelaide Brighton Cement factory, already a large contributor to air pollution located close to houses.

Urban planning and development minister Paul Holloway has suggested that residents or industry should move, depending on which is the cheapest option. Treasurer Kevin Foley, the local member, wants both to stay.

Foley and Newport Quays consortium spokesperson Todd Brown are confident the Dock One stage of the development will go ahead. But convincing people to shell out top dollars to live with excessive pollution is proving hard without evidence industry is cleaning up its act. There have been only two off-the-plan unit sales since the EPA report became public.

Meanwhile, LeFevre Peninsular residents near the Outer Harbour rail line are about to find it even harder to sleep: major new transports of iron ore and magnetite mean up to six 1.2km-long trains a week will pass by from March 2011.

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