WARRNAMBOOL City Council has officially begun the complex process of gaining ownership of Crown land and then selling it to Midfield Meat Processing.
It has advertised its intention to sell by private treaty and invited public submissions which must be lodged by April 22.
The transfer will allow Midfield to diversify into dairy processing by constructing a milk powder production plant on Scott Street land now occupied by part of the council’s equipment depot.
This site is adjacent to Midfield’s meat processing plant site.
A proposed contract of sale involves a purchase price of at least the Valuer-General’s market value, a 10 per cent deposit and settlement on the same date as settlement of the council’s purchase from the state government.
The land would be rezoned from public use to industrial.
When Premier Denis Napthine, the council and Midfield announced the dairy project on March 9, along with a $20 million expansion and improvements of its meat division, city chief executive Bruce Anson described the transfer as “complex”.
He said the state government would have to make an independent ruling on rezoning and assessment of planning and building applications to resolve the possibility of a conflict of interest with council being land vendor and planning authority.
Midfield aims to build a $15m cold storage operation on the other side of Scott Street which would have a 4200-pallet capacity and require only three people to operate.
Overall, its expansion is predicted to create more than 200 extra jobs.
The state government will provide $1.5m for the cold store and improvements to the Levys Point rendering plant.