South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Correspondence

reply to chief forest practices officer

From: Frances Daily
To: Graham Wilkinson
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2006 10:44 PM
[email addresses redacted]

Dear Graham,

Subject: 'Graben' coordinates and other comments

Thank you for your response. I received your initial letter not long after you inadvertently sent it and was totally taken aback!! I was therefore very relieved when I then received your letter below.

Firstly you mention that it is ' ... regrettable that the action was terminated' however I don't think that means the issue can not be resolved.

With regard to specific issues:

1) The 'graben' feature:
You say that 'McIntosh and Weldon are confident that the feature that they investigated and described in their report is the feature described by Dr Stapledon ...' I can assure you that they found a different feature as I know this area very well. David Stapledon and Ralph Rallings would both be able to substantiate this (as you would too if you accepted the offer to visit South Sister!)

The GPS coordinates for each of the features are as follows:

'Graben' feature identified by David Stapledon in April 2005 0598284E/5401219N 634 m
'Graben' feature identified and investigated by McIntosh and Weldon 0598418E/5401141N 615 m
'Road batter collapse' 0598372E/5401235N 584 m
These coordinates were taken by myself on the same day therefore there is no possibility of error.

I have attached photos of the two different features showing that these areas are entirely different. It is difficult to capture them from a short distance but you can verify the different sites on a visit. I can also arrange for you to be accompanied to both sites with a GPS when you visit the area.

The assumption made by FT/FPA that on receipt of the second reports (late September 2005), Stapledon agreed with McIntosh/Weldon's interpretation of the 'graben' is completely wrong. David Stapledon's decision to downgrade the risk was totally unrelated to the issue of the graben which I know he will certainly agree with.

I do believe that there have been many wrong assumptions and misunderstandings which is one reason why I have been advocating for a meeting between parties. It would be at a meeting that these issues could be easily and simply addressed and issues would become clear to all involved rather than making assumptions that are not always correct.

Stapledon's graben feature as shown by the coordinates above and photos attached is yet to be investigated. Stapledon was always concerned that this 'graben feature' was important and as you said yourself '... would have been important evidence of land instability'. As it has not yet been investigated, I again urge you to visit the site and see for yourself that it is a different feature to that identified and described by McIntosh/Weldon.

2) Regarding the 'road batter collapse':
As McIntosh and Weldon have now acknowledged that the position of the 'road batter collapse' was incorrectly shown in their sketch map, it is imperative that this 'new' position is considered as highly relevant, particularly in its relation to Slide B and Stapledon's 'graben'. It is likely that Rallings and McIntosh/Weldon will continue to disagree about the size of the slide, whether it is a debris flow or slide or other - again another reason to have other experts involved who could do further survey work.

3) Regarding groundwater.
As described in an earlier email, we were unable to meet the threshold regarding this issue under EMPCA. The onus was on us to prove that things would be negatively affected yet as little research has been carried out, we were unable to do this. I know there have been many experts with varying opinions on this topic (indeed some of FT's experts have actually agreed with SOS experts and vice versa) and as a consequence we ask FPA to adopt a precautionary approach, on the basis of the genuine, scientific concerns raised by our group. Just because we couldn't reach the threshold for EMPCA, it doesn't mean we don't have a relevant case. 'Acts' are not always without fault or completely fool proof.

4) Regarding further review of evidence and costs:
You say that 'continuing review can not be justified on the basis of the evidence ...'
With the information I have provided with you above, I trust you will see that review is certainly necessary.
I appreciate FT has spent considerable sums of money on various experts however many of the experts employed to date have experience in water rather than landslips. I am certainly not keen that public money be wasted however as there are issues that continue to be outstanding and have not yet been addressed, it is imperative that this investigation continue.

If FT were willing to have the evidence examined by RMPAT process why are they not in agreeance that it is now examined by a different independent assessor particularly when there are outstanding issues that need to be addressed?
The Tribunal is not the only avenue for an independent review - there is of course the possibility for an external review from geologists/geotechnical consultants i.e. MRT or others perhaps appointed by MRT. I don't understand the resistance by FPA. Are MRT not the experts in geology and landslides in Tasmania? It seems obvious to me that they (or someone appointed by them) should be involved. It seems strange to me that if FPA is unconcerned about the outcome i.e. they are confident with the evidence they have found to date, then they wouldn't be concerned about further investigations.

Finally, I would like to point out that FT and FPA are not alone in having substantial costs regarding South Sister. I, along with many other local residents have spent considerable amounts of both money and time to defend the area which we believe will be negatively affected by logging.
To have the door continually slammed on us despite having legitimate concerns is particularly worrisome. Knowing that experts have incorrectly plotted points and incorrectly identified and described features which may be highly relevant does make me feel that there is some sort of cover up. Despite being told numerous times by FT and FPA that the planning for this coupe has been thorough and careful it was a shock to me to find the area of subsidence over Cardiff mine had not been excluded from harvesting. Only after pointing this out to FPA/FT in October 2005 (nearly 2.5 years after planning for the coupe harvesting began), did FT acknowledge that this area should not be harvested. I firmly believe that planning has not been as thorough as it should have been (more thorough than other coupes perhaps) but this coupe has many qualities that other coupes are unlikely to have and therefore planning needs to be more thorough.

Graham, now that you are more familiar with the issues I would hope that FPA would be totally transparent and realise that they are perhaps in need of additional expert opinion. As I mentioned in my last email, FPA's experts cannot be specialists in every field. They should not be intimidated by this - we can't all be experts at everything!

I again ask you to visit the coupe as soon as possible with a meeting thereafter with experts and other involved parties. I would also ask that you make contact with SOS experts and discuss with them the above facts. I am sure they will have no problem in outlining things to you. I can facilitate this without difficulty.

I look forward to your acceptance of my offer.

Cheers

Frances

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