THERE was a significant Lithgow anniversary in recent days with the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Valley Plaza shopping complex.
The Coalex mining company built the centre on what for decades had been the site of the Lithgow Valley Colliery - much to the irritation of heritage groups who wanted to preserve some of the ugly old pit (bulldozers were brought in from out of town before dawn to do some vital demolition before interim heritage orders could be pinned to the premises).
What eventuated was a huge transformation from an unwanted industrial relic, even if not welcomed by the CBD traders who are still slowly recovering from the dramatic change in shopping habits.
No one remembers the VIP speeches made at the opening but everyone recalls the real highlight of the opening, a parade of bikini models from the June Dally Watkins agency.
Who wanted to listen to stuffy speeches when there's new season swimwear to appreciate?
Winners and losers
SO after seemingly endless trauma and sleepless nights for the people of Blackheath the government and RMS have decided on a long tunnel beneath the town as the preferred option for the four lane highway upgrade between Katoomba and Lithgow.
And while Blackheathens are understandably delighted their homes and businesses have been saved, further down the Mountains they're not so pleased and the prospect of bigger trucks (up to 30 metres long) through the neighbourhood that are at present not permitted anywhere east of the Mudgee turn off at Tunnel Hill. Mountains Mayor Greenhill and MP Trish Doyle say the government is 'kowtowing to the trucking industry business model'.
They may have a point there; the prospect of sharing a tunnel with a thundering tailgating B Double is not a happy one, particularly if you're claustrophobic. It's bad enough on the M4.
How will the daily movement of fuel tankers be resolved? They're not allowed in tunnels anywhere.
Wide open emptiness
STRANGE things happen in pandemic control measures. We see 30,000 or so footy fans in the stadiums, disturbingly it seems with little regard for social distancing but only 4000 or so permitted in the wide open spaces of Mt Panorama for the nation's biggest sporting event. Hard to understand that one but maybe the NRL has more clout than the race mob with Macquarie Street.
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