Council moves to secure bitumen and energy supply | Poll

COSTINGS will be sought to establish a council-operated hot mix plant in Orange, with electricity generation also targeted for local control amid skyrocketing prices.

Orange City Council voted on Tuesday night to complete a business case for a hot-mix plant after negotiations for a batching plant with a prospective asphalt company extended for nine months.

Councillor Jeff Whitton raised the motion and believed the option was unlikely to proceed. 

“I’m not particularly interested in building a facility that’s going to service all of the [Central NSW Joint Organisation] region, I’m more interested in what it would cost to build a facility just to service Orange from our own depots with our own staff,” he said.

“Even if were to bring in a private organisation in and they choose to built a hot-mix facility in our city, they’re going to do all endeavours to make as much money as they can selling their produce to as many [councils] who want hot mix throughout the region – we would find ourselves in the same situation that we would be paying for that service anyway and the material might not be available at the times that we need it.”

General manager Garry Styles said options would be canvassed to cover Orange only against Orange, Cabonne and Blayney. 

Technical services director Ian Greenham told councillors other councils ran hot-mix plants, but generally only if they operated a quarry.

A business case would take two months. 

Cr Whitton also asked to test interest with the Orange Business Chamber to hold a forum on electricity prices, however deputy mayor Joanne McRae argued the council should skip the step and hold the forum, which her colleagues supported. 

Cr McRae suggested there might be an opportunity for the council to set up its own secure supply.

“We spend $3.17 million a year in energy for council facilities, is there an opportunity of using the same business case or argument [for hot mix] to install appropriate energy-generating infrastructure?” she said.

“[That] means we have control over our energy when we need it for our residents at a price that we’re happy with.”