AFTER more than three long years of controversy and planning, the state government has given the green light to new industrial land sites in Warrnambool expected to generate up to 1200 jobs.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy signed off on Warrnambool City Council’s request to rezone 65 hectares bordered by Horne Road and a 4.7ha site in the west at Rooneys Road.
It was gazetted in Parliament on Wednesday.
The proposed new industrial precinct in the east will generate an estimated $60 million in new infrastructure and a further $60 million in assets for the city during the next 10 years.
Infrastructure construction is expected to start in October with the first titles available for sale mid next year.
This week’s approval follows a tightening shortage of suitably-zoned industrial land in the Warrnambool district where prices for remaining vacant blocks are among the highest in Victoria.
“This is a big moment for our city and represents the start of a new phase of investment for local businesses wanting to expand and outside operators who want to invest in our city,” mayor Jacinta Ermacora said.
“First we were able to rezone land north of the Merri for our growing population and now we can proceed with the industrial estate.
“Council and our planners have much to be proud of.”
City council chief executive Bruce Anson said there was already demand for 25ha of industrial land.
“We have had approaches from many businesses looking to establish in the city, but the availability and cost of our land has kept them out of the market,” he said.
The east Warrnambool landowners Tony Herbert and Brendan Howard said they were “very excited” about the minister’s green light.
They said it followed a lengthy, thorough process in evaluating the land first put forward three years ago when the council called for expressions of interest.
“We have instructed our designers and engineers to place particular emphasis on an environmentally-responsible development with particular emphasis on stormwater management and treatment and landscaping throughout the estate,” they said.
Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine said the new industrial estates would be major attractors for Warrnambool to generate jobs and industry.
The rezonings were recommended by an independent panel and adopted by the council last year.
It came after extensive consultations with nearby residents who raised objections about environmental issues, loss of amenity for their rural living and effect on their property values.
The council has allocated $1 million in its 2012-2013 draft budget towards construction of Horne Road from the Princes Highway to Boiling Down Road.
City infrastructure director Peter Robertson said the roadwork would be completed during summer.