Warrnambool experienced a 50 per cent jump in non-residential investment in the space of a year, and with 2022 set to also eclipse records the city council is now developing a new economic development strategy.
The council is fielding a noticeable uptick in investment inquiries and there is also plans to create an investment prospectus to help guide future growth.
Acting mayor Debbie Arnott said the new economic strategy to guide investment was well under way, and would set the city on the correct path to facilitate future growth.
Cr Arnott said it was good to see the council supporting initiatives that were fostering and ongoing development and investment with industries that underpin the city's economic strengths.
"The planning is well under way for a new economic development and investment strategy," she said.
Cr Arnott said the strategy was an important document which would help the council with grant and funding opportunities.
Cr Ben Blain said the council would also use the Census data, which was due for release mid-year, to begin planning for future infrastructure projects.
"Community infrastructure is going to be especially important in this period in Warrnambool with sustained growth," he said.
"We want to be building the community infrastructure for future growth and not having to go back and retro fit.
"This plan is going to be really important to make sure we are a connected 20-minute city into the future."
The council's director of city growth Andrew Paton said there had been a discernable increase in the levels of investment inquiry in Warrnambool over the past six months, not just in retail but in commercial and industrial sectors.
"This enquiry is a combination of existing local businesses seeking to grow but also a healthy level of interest from external parties seeking to do business in Warrnambool for the first time," Mr Paton said.
Over the past decade, the value of non-residential building approvals in Warrnambool have historically averaged around $35 million each year and includes office, retail, industrial and commercial buildings.
But for the 12 months to end of June last year that figure had jumped 50 per cent on the previous year to $53 million.
Over the seven months to the end of January this year, Warrnambool reported building values of $31 million for non-residential activity.
"With five months yet to be reported in the 21/22 financial year, Warrnambool is on track to again report strong investment levels in non-residential activity well above the long-term historical average," Mr Paton said.
"The investment pipeline across the city is currently strong which is a positive signal for business confidence."
Major projects from many of the city's largest employers were either at advanced planning or under construction and cover a wide range of sectors from health care services, education, food processing sector, aged care, child care and utility authorities.
"Warrnambool's economic strength lies in its diversity and growing significance as a regional services centre," Mr Paton said.
"This investment pipeline is headlined by the $384 million Warrnambool Base Hospital redevelopment.
"Construction of the Regional Logistics Distribution Centre is expected to start in mid-2022. Construction of the hospital will begin in early 2023, with hospital tower major works starting in mid-2024."
The council is also developing an investment prospectus which will provide an overview of investment-ready opportunities for industry in Warrnambool.
Mr Paton said it would also support proactive management of growth into "well-planned precincts".
He said facilitating ongoing investment in the city would cater for sustainable growth while also maintaining the city's mantel as one of the most livable places.
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