This morning the community meeting held by the new owners of the Portland Cement Works Site – AWJ Civil – was a great success.
The town turned out in force to hear the new owners talk about their plans for the site. The new owners were clear that their initial plans would focus on fulfilling their obligation to close the mine site, while also considering expressions of interest on several heritage buildings on site.
Kris Leck, from Catalyst Project Consulting, walked through the expected timeline for the development of the site, revealing some ambitious goals. “We hope to finish the mine closure by early June,” he revealed, adding that they also hoped to have the Site Constraint Analysis done by April.
Kris was very clear that the future development of the site would not be set in stone until the early work on the site, such as the mine closure, the site constraint analysis and the consideration of development options had been completed.
“We’re going to investigate a lot of options,” he said. He listed several potential uses for the land, including options such as sites devoted to educational/vocational facilities, retail and commerce, retirement housing, agriculture, low cost housing, community facilities, parkland, warehousing and more. “We’re very open to ideas,” he said, “and development will involve comprehensive community consultation.”
First, however, the primary concern for AWJ Civil is finishing the initial work on the site. “We want to kick off quickly,” said Martin O’Connell, the owner of AWJ Civil. “Hopefully our presence here today shows the urgency with which we want to get on with things.”
According to the timeline, Portland can expect to see movement on the site over the next few months as the initial demolition of unsafe buildings, such as the carriage building opposite the pool, takes place.
Expressions of interest are still being taken for use of several buildings on the site and the new owners will accept proposals to acquire, refurbish and re-use any or all of: the Small Arms Factory Annexe building; Casino building and small adjoining building; Silos; or cottage buildings on Williwa St, all within the site of the old Portland Cement Works. Respondents must be able to demonstrate financial capacity for their proposal and commit to commencement of refurbishment in 2015.
Interested parties should contact Kris Leck, Catalyst Project Consulting, via email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the EOI documentation. Submissions are due by 28 February 2015.