RISING FROM THE ASHES: Peter Wintour, general manager of North Coast Plywood Products Pty Ltd, stands before the ruins of the N
RISING FROM THE ASHES: Peter Wintour, general manager of North Coast Plywood Products Pty Ltd, stands before the ruins of the N

$26m NEEDEDTOSAVEATOWN

By RACHEL SCOLLAY

A PHOENIX rising from the ashes. That's the vision of the former Norply management team, who want to fast-track the building of a particle-board factory and save Kyogle from the economic doldrums.

With a minimum two year lag before Norply can be re-built they hope such a venture can stem an exodus of trained workers from the town.

The catch? To get Phoenix Board off the ground they need $26 million, and fast.

Norply general manager Peter Wintour has been scouring the world for a suitable mill and has found one for sale in China.

He said there were two other interested buyers and the sale was expected to be wrapped up by the end of the month.

If they could nail the sale the mill could be shipped immediately to Australia and the factory could be up and running in Kyogle within eight months.

If they missed the opportunity, it would take considerable time to find a replacement.

"We can create 100 jobs," he said.

"And we can create them very quickly if we can get the finance to back us."

The plan comes as Kyogle faces a looming economic crisis after the Norply factory fire left 140 people jobless in September.

A further 145 Kyogle jobs are at risk from the economic fallout, with retailers already reporting sales down as much as 60 per cent.

The price tag for rebuilding Norply is up to $50 million, and is expected to take at least two years, but shareholders have not yet decided whether to go ahead.



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