The Boral plants that have operated out of Alstonville and Lismore are now reducing their output and will only be operating to meet ‘customer requirements as necessary’ from July 31.
Boral employees were informed of the change on July 7.
The site at Alstonville has been the subject of continued controversy over many years as some local residents have said that the fumes from the plant were causing nose bleeds and making their residences unliveable. However, Ballina Shire Council had agreed to a five year extension on the site for Boral last year.
‘They thought they had a good site next to quarry but it hasn’t worked out that way,’ said Ballina Mayor David Wright.
A Boral spokesperson told Echonetdaily that ‘The changes follow a review of the Boral Asphalt NSW/ACT portfolio as part of organisation-wide efforts to ensure continued delivery of services in a challenged, low demand market.
‘Other parts of the Asphalt business across the state were similarly affected by new arrangements. A further contributing factor specific to the Alstonville site is the near-completion of the Pacific Highway upgrade program which has afforded the site much of its work for the past decade.’
Local jobs lost
The decision to reduce the capacity at the site has left Ballina Shire Councillor Keith Williams ‘disappointed’ by the Boral decision.
‘It does not address community concerns with an ageing asphalt plant located near residents,’ he explained to Echonetdaily.
‘But most importantly, 30 local families have received terrible news this week. My thoughts are with them. The loss of so many permanent jobs at the plant will also flow through and hurt the local economy of Alstonville. That’s over $2 million per year that won’t be spent locally.
‘News that the plant will mothballed but may continue to operate for special projects brings no certainty to residents, no closure to nights plagued with choking fumes and worries of uncertain health effects on families.
‘I have always sought relocation of the plant to an industrial area rather than closure. Now we have the worst of all possible worlds. No jobs, no asphalt, no certainty.
‘This decision is all about Boral’s corporate interests. Alstonville is just a name on a list to them. Their workers and our community deserved better.’
Quarry still operational
Mayor Wright has confirmed that the quarry located next to the Boral Asphalt plant is still licensed and operational.
‘We are and not looking to close the quarry,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘However, when it does that whole area will have to be rehabilitated.’