Business bonanza

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Business bonanza

SOUTH Gippsland could boom on the back of a new agribusiness precinct proposed for Koonwarra that will service the region’s $400 million a year farming industry.

The development of three stages over 10 years is valued at upwards of $12 million.

The proposal will start with a large service station catering for trucks and buses, and three big sites.

Interest has already been received from businesses in the shire and beyond, with fertiliser and stockfeeds suppliers and machinery dealerships among those expected to establish new premises.

South Gippsland Shire Council will consider an application to rezone the land from farming zone to special use zone – agricultural services at tomorrow’s (Wednesday) council meeting.

Early indications are the project will proceed, with council planners recommending councillors seek authorisation from Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne to advertise an amendment to the planning scheme to make the project happen.

The land is located at 590 the South Gippsland Highway, next to Cervus Equipment, and close to the VLE Leongatha saleyards complex.

The project is being developed by Lindsay and Robyn Powney, now owners of Insight Real Estate in Leongatha.

“It’s a tremendous economic boost to this region and particularly to the council. It will create a significant regional agricultural hub,” Mrs Powney said.

“It will put Leongatha back on the map as a major rural centre.”

Mr Powney said Leongatha and broader South Gippsland was crying out for new land that could service agricultural businesses needing large sites to cater for the longer trucks industry is now using.

“There will be spin-offs to the whole community,” he said.

“It will be a huge injection of money into Leongatha because there is going to be only locals involved in the building of it. This will result in more people moving to the area and it will provide an economic boost.”

The development is expected to alleviate demand for land in the existing Leongatha industrial estate. Some agribusinesses could move to the Koonwarra site, making more land available for other industry in the existing Leongatha estate.

“You can’t get land in Leongatha. Leongatha is turning businesses away because you can’t get flat level land with good access,” Mr Powney said.

Mrs Powney expected the development to complement the existing variety of industry already operating in the region.

“It won’t detract from the local towns because it will only be an agricultural hub,” she said.

The special use zone will not permit businesses that are more suited to a town commercial or industrial area, and therefore “not weaken the retail primacy of the surrounding townships”, a council report stated.

The service station complex proposes four truck refuelling bays, 16 regular fuel bays, a convenience store, and overnight parking for trucks, buses and cars.

High Productivity Freight Vehicles – trucks up to 36.5m long – and B-double trucks will be catered for.

“There is not any other sizeable truck refuelling spot between Caldermeade and Bairnsdale,” Mrs Powney said.

Several oil companies, as well as service station developers and investors, have expressed interest in taking on the station.

Only 65 acres of the existing 100 acre property will be developed.

The site will feature the existing lake, which will be surrounded by landscaping and include a rotunda as a picnic spot.

Access to the complex from the highway will be next to the lake and all roads within the development will be designed to cater for B-doubles.

A buffer strip will be built between the complex and the highway for safety.

A bike track will link the development with the Great Southern Rail Trail adjoining the site. Trees will be planted along the border with the rail trail to ensure no buildings are visible from the trail.

Water will be treated onsite. A body corporate will maintain roads and the lake.

Council’s Leongatha Industrial Land Supply Study 2013 supports the development.

The site is bordered by the highway to the east, farming land to the north, the rail trail to the west and Hogans Road and Cervus Equipment to the south.

An existing house on the property will remain as a caretaker’s cottage at least until stage three of the project.

The Powneys thanked council’s planning officers for their help and support.

 Opening the gates: Robyn and Lindsay Powney are seeking permission from South Gippsland Shire Council to turn their property at Koonwarra into an agribusiness precinct that will benefit the region.

Opening the gates: Robyn and Lindsay Powney are seeking permission from South Gippsland Shire Council to turn their property at Koonwarra into an agribusiness precinct that will benefit the region.

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Posted by on Oct 27 2015. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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