3 Jul 2011

Buller mayor bullish despite likely loss of factory

6:45 am on 3 July 2011

Buller's mayor is bullish about the district's economic prospects, even though a cement factory near Westport looks set to close.

The factory's owner, Holcim, is seeking approval from its board to build a new plant at Oamaru, and if it gets the go-ahead, construction could begin later this year. The company is seeking tenders for the building work.

Holcim's capital projects manager for Holcim, Ken Cowie, says the Westport factory will remain open for about three years while the new plant is built.

Buller mayor Pat McManus says however that the district's coal industry should fill the gap in the economy.

"The economy in the Buller district is very strong at the moment in terms of the coal expansion going on here," Mr McManus says, "so hopefully given another three or four years, by the time they wind down the plant in Westport we'll be in a better position to handle that loss."