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TIMBER operations have officially started at Chicago Freight Car Leasing (CFCL) in Braidwood Rd, with shipping containers loaded with radiata and eucalypt logs.
The first loaded train will leave Goulburn next Wednesday, July 13, bound for Port Botany.
Twenty-five containers with capacity for about 26-28 tonnes each of logs were delivered to Goulburn last Thursday afternoon.
CFCL Workshop Manager Mick Cooper explained the process to the Post.
“The log operations were due to start at the beginning of July with interim permission for a trial unloading of containers on Thursday and permission to load the containers and begin the fumigation process was given on June 29,” Mr Cooper said.
“The plan is to run a full 25 full boxes out of here on Wednesday (today).”
Mr Cooper said initially there would be one train per week running to Port Botany from Goulburn, building to three trains per week.
“The radiata timber comes mainly from Braidwood and Canberra, and the eucalyptus is coming from the Port Kembla area, and down past Braidwood towards Batemans Bay,” Mr Cooper said.
“Once the timber comes from Braidwood, it is brought here to the depot in Goulburn, gets processed, measured and loaded into the containers.
We then close the containers, seal them and they get loaded onto the trains and transported to Port Botany, and then from there will go to anywhere in the world.
“This first batch of timber is being sent to China and the radiata timber will be used predominantly for construction and second, the eucalypt will be used for furniture over in China and manufactured there too.”
Mr Cooper addressed concerns by some members of the community about the use of methyl bromide in the timber treatment process.
Mr Cooper said it was the same process discussed when the DA was released but the company had made the State’s requirements even more stringent.
“The heaters in the containers will be extra hot so we use less of the methyl bromide and when they measure it to open the doors of the container, it will be half the concentration that’s actually required (five parts per million as opposed to the normal requirement of eight to nine ppm),” he said.
Mr Cooper said CFCL was happy to listen to any community concerns.
“We have a register set up on our computers so that we can log all issues and resolutions, and as always, people are more than welcome to come down and have a look at the process, discuss any issues and we’ll work through them together to get the best outcome for the depot and for the Goulburn community,” he said.
Nearby resident Alex Fry was one of the objectors to the DA.
“The area that Chicago Freight are carrying out these operations is zoned General Industrial, and really, with the nature of the materials that they are using, these operations should really be classed as heavy industrial,” he said.
“Methyl bromide has been banned for use in the European Union and was encouraged to be phased out by 2005, according to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
“I took this matter to the NSW Land and Environment Court and this project was deemed to be an ancilliary development, which meant that it could not be immediately appealed.
“I also contacted the NSW Ombudsman who said that once this development had been approved by Council and the State Government, he did not have the authority to overturn the decision.”
Mr Fry said he also contacted State Member for Goulburn Pru Goward and Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor but to no avail.
“We also went to the Environmental Defender’s office, but because the application had a time limit on it, which we were getting very close to, they were unable to do anything in time,” Mr Fry said.
“My wife and I went to a lawyer in Sydney who specialised in environmental law. He then drafted up a report which we felt wasn’t a particularly satisfactory one and overlooked a lot of the matters which required consideration.
So by this stage the clock had timed out, and we had no avenues of appeal left.”
Mr Cooper said CFCL are ready to export three locomotives which would go into containers for export to the United States.
“We also have six bogies ready for export to the UK which will go out of here in the next couple of weeks, and we are negotiating with a new firm in town to bring containers in from America for them in an exciting new business venture.”
This article first appeared on www.goulburnpost.com.au
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