An extract from Lithgow Mercury – Dec 22 2014
THE cement works was for decades the lifeblood of Portland but since Boral ceased production it has been more of a millstone for the town.$
But now there could be an exciting new future for the site and the community can hardly wait to find out what is planned.
It was announced yesterday that one of the state’s major development firms is purchasing the site from Boral and has big plans for Portland.
It is exactly the shot in the arm the community needed after what has not been a good year for the district.
The sprawling cement works site has been purchased by AWJ Civil, based in Sydney.
Director Martin O’Connell confirmed yesterday that agreements have been reached with Boral and contracts are expected to be exchanged at the end of January.
He said the company then planned to begin moving forward immediately.
He said that this was a project that AWJ Civil is very excited about and believes it provides ‘a fantastic mixed use opportunity’.
The announcement marks a milestone for Portland after concerns for the site that have existed since the works ceased cement production in the late 1980s.
Mayor Maree Statham has been involved for many months in complex negotiations that have involved not only Boral and AWJ but various government bodies.
“I’m personally delighted that this is finally coming to fruition and I’m certain the community will also be pleased that we at last have some good news to report,” she said.
The mayor said one of the complications had been the heritage restrictions placed on parts of the derelict industrial site.
The discussions on the company’s future plans for the site remain confidential and have not been finalised but Mayor Statham said various proposals had been aired.
“These are exciting times for Greater Lithgow and for Portland in particular,” she said.
AWJ Civil’s website lists some of the major projects the company has recently been involved in including the Toll Ipec Centre at Bungarribee, the Costco retail warehouse at Lidcombe, the Wetherill Park industrial estate and a business hub at Eastern Creek.
It also lists among its specialisations project management, commercial and industrial subdivisions, road construction and environmental remediation.
Not long after the cement works closed Boral was planning the sale of the site at a give away price but the deal was cancelled after concerns were expressed at the credentials of the buyer.
There will clearly be no such concerns this time around.