UPDATE: Council confident airport works will continue on time and budget despite Hewatt walk off

NO MORE: Work being done on the Orange Airport expansion on March 17 this year. Work has since come to a halt after Hewatt Earthworks walked off the site. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

NO MORE: Work being done on the Orange Airport expansion on March 17 this year. Work has since come to a halt after Hewatt Earthworks walked off the site. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

THURSDAY, MAY 8, 3PM:

ORANGE City Council Airport Advisory Committee chair Councillor Chris Gryllis is optimistic work will be able to re-start as soon as possible at the civil engineering construction site of the Orange Airport upgrade. 

Council had engaged Hewatt Earthworks as the major contractor on a $9 million project, which included extending the runway, building new roads and general aviation facilities. 

Work on the site was halted on Wednesday. 

“The City Council has only paid for work that’s been completed to date, and we’ll be working to make sure the council isn’t out of pocket because of these unfortunate events,” Cr Gryllis said. 

Council staff met on Thursday with representatives from Hewatt Earthworks and PPB Advisory, which has been appointed as Voluntary Administrators to the construction company. 

Council’s Technical Services Director Chris Devitt said council staff are co-operating with the administrators to minimise the delay before work can begin again on site. 

“Because the civil construction work at the airport had reached the half-way point, that puts it in a good position for the project to continue,” Chris Devitt said.

“The administrators have now begun the difficult job of analysing at the company’s assets and liabilities, but the council is optimistic the airport project can be a source of value for them.

“It will be up to the administrators how they appoint a new firm to supervise the project. The most important thing, for the sake of the sub-contractors, is to have a seamless and timely re-start of the project so that sub-contractors who want to do can get back to work.”

A creditors’ meeting will be held on May 20 to work through those issues.

Council said they engaged specialist consultants to check the references of Hewatt Earthworks before awarding the tender for the airport project.

THURSDAY, MAY 8, 12PM:

WORK has stopped on the expansion of the Orange Airport after Hewatt Earthworks, the company behind the facility's expansion, walked off the site late Wednesday and subcontractors were told to remove their equipment.

Hewatt are believed to be halfway through work on expanding the airport's facilities, including upgrades which will allow it to cater for larger aircraft.

Hewatt's withdrawal from the project comes after news this week the company was forced to stop work on the $288 million Majura Parkway development in Canberra.

Orange councillor Chris Gryllis said while it was regretful that work at the airport had stopped he was sure council staff would ensure no money would be lost as a result.

"Life goes on and it's with regret that these things take place," he said.

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