Port Kembla Stack site recycling proposal binned

The Pork Kemba site after the fall of the iconic stack.
The Pork Kemba site after the fall of the iconic stack.

Plans to build a massive recycling plant on part of the recently demolished Port Kembla stack site have been knocked on the head before they got off the ground.

Earlier this year, prominent Illawarra planning consultant Terry Wetherall flagged an unnamed client's intention to build a plant capable of crushing up to 400,000 tonnes of building materials each year on the controversial site.

However, on Wednesday, Mr Wetherall said the proposal would not go ahead, because site owners Port Kembla Copper (PKC) "were not making the site available for that purpose".

He would not disclose his client.

PKC general manager Ian Wilson, however, said he had met with the client - a "reputable Wollongong business" - and was sure the plant would have been a regulated activity.

"I had outline discussions, all of which had come to nothing," he said.

"For their own reasons they have chosen to withdraw."

Mr Wetherall wrote to NSW Planning in April, indicating the proposed plant would have the ability to crush, screen and separate "recyclable products including concrete, brick, tiles, topsoil and engineered fill".

The project would create 15 construction jobs and 90 operation jobs, the application said.

Mr Wetherall said the plans relied upon existing infrastructure on and surrounding the site and noted some "crushing and screening" operations had already been carried out as part of the stack's demolition.

"Ongoing crushing and screening operations carried out in the rehabilitation of the site have not caused complaint," he said.

"The operation will provide for the processing and commercialisation of waste materials."

Wollongong City Council, along with government agencies, submitted their suggestions for the project's parameters to the NSW Planning director-general in May.

On Wednesday, Port Kembla business owner Renay Horton said she was relieved to hear the plan would not go ahead because Port Kembla "didn't deserve to be treated like a dumping ground".

She said a group of concerned Port Kembla residents had been due to meet in opposition of the proposal on Saturday.

"People like myself have put their heart and soul into their businesses and turning Port Kembla around," Ms Horton said.

"I would like to see something that works with the people in Port Kembla who have had to deal with the fallout of industry and the port.

"The residents deserve something back for their loyalty."

Wollongong councillor and Port Kembla advocate Ann Martin said she wanted to see the PKC site developed to bring employment to the region.

"We need to find jobs for people," she said.

"Port is really changing and moving which is fantastic ... but we still need to balance residential and tourism development with the industry.

"It's one of Australia's most significant industrial areas and unless land is rezoned that's what it's there for."

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