While the winds of change have swept through the Seven Valleys for some time, yesterday’s blast at Wallerawang was a loud signal that the region is moving towards a new future.
In a bittersweet 15 seconds, the towering smoke stacks and boiler house of the iconic Wallerawang Power Station fell to the ground. This followed a spectacular fireworks celebration a week ago to farewell a rich era of industrial heritage and innovation, making way for a new sustainable energy hub and industrial park.
The blast, felt by residents kilometres away across the region, comes on the heels of a $50 million NSW State Government investment to transform 30,000 hectares of the Gardens of Stone into an eco-tourism and adventure destination. Adventurers will soon be able to rock climb, camp and explore the ‘Lost City’ as well as enjoy new lookouts, walking trails, a 4WD circuit and a 35km mountain bike network.
Announced by Deputy Premier Paul Toole, the investment is set to attract 200,000 extra visitors to the area each year, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. “We’re creating an experience right here in the Lithgow area,” Mr Toole said. “We talk about transitioning and diversifying the Lithgow economy, this is a step in the right direction.“
Lithgow Chamber of Commerce President, Peter Pilbeam, says, “We’re at the start of a new era for Lithgow and the Seven Valleys. As we honour our unique industrial heritage, we take advantage of our infrastructure to create new industries and bring investment into the area”
Earlier this year the Lithgow Chamber announced its two-year Business Revival Program comprising major events to attract business and investors to boost the economy of the Seven Valleys.
“Innovation was always at the heart of our past industrial successes, and innovation will continue to be the key to advancing the Seven Valleys economy,” adds Pilbeam.